Thursday, September 1, 2016

[PM meets Rio copper chief; FM speaks at AmCham; MNT gains for 3rd day; ING appoints new rep; and Happy First Day of School]

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Thursday, September 1, 2016

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Int'l Market

TRQ closed +0.65% Wednesday to US$3.08, -13.48% in the last 1 month

Mongolia asks Rio Tinto to speed up work on giant copper mine

By Terrence Edwards | ULAANBAATAR

August 30 (Reuters) Mongolia's prime minister has asked Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto to step up the pace of construction at the giant Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine, part of efforts to revive the country's debt-ridden economy.

Jargaltulga Erdenebat assured Rio Tinto's copper chief Arnaud Soirat that Mongolia would honor its past agreements with Rio Tinto, and called on the company to do the same.

"For Oyu Tolgoi, the Mongolian policy to work together with Rio Tinto is already set," he was quoted as saying in a statement posted on Mongolia's official government website <>.

"You need to comply with contract obligations and speed up the momentum of work," he told Soirat, adding that Oyu Tolgoi should procure construction materials like cement from Mongolian service providers only.

The launch of Oyu Tolgoi in 2009 helped kickstart a mining-driven economic boom in Mongolia, but it quickly sparked concerns that the country's resources were being sold off on the cheap, and legislators repeatedly tried to renegotiate the terms of the original agreement in a bid to raise Mongolia's stake.

Rio Tinto's majority-owned Turquoise Hill Resources has a 66 percent stake in the mine, with the Mongolian government holding the remainder.

Dale Choi, an analyst for research firm Mongolian Metals & Mining, said the prime minister has made it clear that Mongolia would not repeat past mistakes by interfering with the running of Oyu Tolgoi.

"The prime minister understands that the more quickly Oyu Tolgoi develops, the more profitable it is for the government," he said.

The expansion of Oyu Tolgoi was delayed for two years amid concerns about rising costs, and revenues have suffered as a result, with the project still dependent on lower-quality ore dug from its open-pit mine, which has been in operation since 2013.

Work on the lucrative underground phase finally got underway this year, and Rio Tinto has received $5.3 billion (Mogi: $4.2 billion) in project financing from banks with the option to draw down an additional $1.6 billion.

Elected in a landslide in late June, Mongolia's new government has pledged to restore the confidence of foreign investors. It is now grappling with a 20.6 percent budget deficit, a currency in freefall and a decline in coal and copper demand from its major customer, China.

Link to article


Mongolia urges Rio Tinto to speed up expansion of Oyu Tolgoi minebne IntelliNews, August 31


CIC Gold: Unaudited Interim Results for six month ended 30 June 2016 

August 31 -- CIC Gold (LSE: CICG) is pleased to advise that the Company's Unaudited Interim Results for six month ended 30 June 2016 is available on the Company's web site. 

In compliance with LR9.6.1, a copy of the Unaudited Interim Results will also shortly be available for inspection at the Financial Conduct Authority's National Storage Mechanism website:

Link to release


975 closed +2.86% Wednesday to HK$0.108, +50% in last 1 month

MMC Liquidators Submits Report to Cayman Court

August 31 -- This announcement is made by Mongolian Mining Corporation (In Provisional Liquidation) (the "Company") pursuant to Rule 13.09(2) of the Rules Governing the Listing of the Securities on The Stock Exchange of Hong Long Limited and the Inside Information Provisions under Part XIVA of the Securities and Futures Ordinance (Cap. 571 of the Laws of Hong Kong).

Reference is made to the announcement of the Company dated 26 August 2016 in relation to a report (the "Report") on the conduct of the provisional liquidation of the Company submitted by Mr. Simon Conway of PwC Corporate Finance Recovery (Cayman) Limited and Mr. Christopher So Man Chun of PricewaterhouseCoopers Ltd. as joint provisional liquidators of the Company to the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands on 25 August 2016 (Cayman time).

A copy of the Report is now available on the following website:

The Company will publish further announcements to update the shareholders and potential investors on progress of the debt restructuring as and when necessary.

Link to release


Winsway: Change of Company Name, Company Logo and Company Website

August 31 --- Reference is made to the announcements of E-Commodities Holdings Limited (formerly known as Winsway Enterprises Holdings Limited, the ''Company'') dated 11 July 2016 and the circular dated 11 July 2016 (the ''Circular'') and the announcement of the Company dated 1 August 2016 in relation to the poll results of the Extraordinary General Meeting. Unless the context otherwise specified, terms defined in the Circular shall have the same meaning when used herein.


As announced by the Company on 1 August 2016, the special resolution approving the change of the name of the Company from ''Winsway Enterprises Holdings Limited 永暉實 業控股股份有限公司'' to ''E-Commodities Holdings Limited 易大宗控股有限公司'' was passed by the Shareholders at the Extraordinary General Meeting held on 1 August 2016.

Link to release


INTERIM RESULTS ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE SIX MONTHS ENDED 30 JUNE 2016 - E-Commodities Holdings Limited, August 31


Khan Announces Conversion of Funds from US$ to C$

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Aug. 31, 2016) - Khan Resources Inc. ("Khan" or the "Company") (CSE:KRI) announces that the majority of US$ funds received from the Government of Mongolia in settlement of an international arbitration award have now been converted to Cdn$ at the average rate of 1.3050. The Company restates that the rate used to convert US$ cash balances to Cdn$ for the financial statements as at June 30, 2016 was 1.2942. This announcement is made pursuant to requests by a number of shareholders (primarily hedge funds) to provide notice of any conversion.

Link to release

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Local Market

MSE Trading Report: Top 20 -0.02%, ALL -0.04%, Turnover ₮13.2 Million Shares, ₮99.9 Million T-Bills

August 30 (MSE) --

Link to report


MSE Trading Report: Top 20 +0.04%, ALL -0.05%, Turnover ₮9 Million Shares, ₮139.9 Million T-Bills

August 31 (MSE) --

Link to report


Maturity Notice: 10 Billion 28-Week 14.215% Discounted T-Bills, August 31

August 31 (MSE) Dear investors, please be advised that the following government bond is about to mature.

Symbol of Government Securities

Amount /units/

Maturity /week/

Form of Interest payment

Interest rate (percent)

Issued Date

Maturity Date








Link to release


Delegates of Royal Securities Exchange of Bhutan Visit MSE

August 30 (MSE) In order to expand cooperation between two exchanges by observing the operation and experience, delegates of Royal Securities Exchange of Bhutan visited to Mongolian Stock Exchange on August 29-30, 2016.

During the visit, CEO of Royal Securities Exchange of Bhutan rang the 5,296th trading opening bell of Mongolian Stock Exchange. And, two parties made a formal introduction about stock exchanges and continued with Q&A session.

Link to release

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BoM MNT Rates: Wednesday, August 31 Close
















































































































































































































Bank USD rates at time of sending: Khan (Buy ₮2,200 Sell ₮2,230), TDB (Buy ₮2,200 Sell ₮2,230), Golomt (Buy ₮2,200 Sell ₮2,230), XacBank (Buy ₮2,185 Sell ₮2,220), State Bank (Buy ₮2,185 Sell ₮2,220)

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

Link to rates


BoM buys US$$12m at 2,230, accepts $68.4m MNT swap offers

August 30 (Bank of Mongolia) Spot trade: On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on August 30th, 2016 the BOM has received bid offers of USD2.7 million in a rate between MNT2212.00-2234.00 and asked USD12.8 million in a rate between MNT2230.00-2237.00 and bid offers of CNY1.7 million in a rate of MNT330.00 from local commercial banks. The BOM has received ask offers of USD12.0 million in a rate of MNT2230.00.    

Swap and forward trade: The BOM accepted the bid offer of USD 68.4 million of MNT swap agreement.

Link to release


BoM issues 196 billion 1-week bills at 15%, total outstanding +13.7% to ₮446.75 billion

August 31 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 196 billion at a weighted interest rate of 15 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release


Mongolia Government 2Q Debt Rises 26% Y/y to $4.7b

By Michael Kohn

August 31 (Bloomberg) -- Mongolia's general government debt increased 26% to $4.71b at the end of the second quarter compared to $3.74b at the same period yr ago, the central bank reported on
its website.

* For the same period:

* Central bank debt was $1.76b compared to $1.85b in 2015

* Inter-company lending debt was $6.76b compared to $10.52b in 2015

* Mongolia's total gross external debt position was $23.45b compared to $21.79b in 2015



Budget amendment submitted

August 31 (Mongolian Economy) A special session of parliament was called on 25 August.

In his opening speech, Speaker of Parliament M.Enkhbold stated: "There are several issues that need urgent resolution. The special session was called to approve Mongolian government action plan for 2016-2020, the 2016 budget amendment, 2015 financial statement, 2015 state budget performance, approval of 2016 Citizens' Representative Council election expenses of soums and districts and to discuss other issues." Although there are 23 issues to be discussed during the session, those related to the economy and monetary policy are at the centre of attention.

During the session, Prime Minister J.Erdenebat presented his government's two-phase action plan for 2016-2020. The first phase mainly concerns handling the current economic situation and diversifying the economy. The second phase is a continuation of the policy on the assumption that the first phase sees successes. This includes "strengthening the stabilizing macro-economic environment" and "creating an environment that will enable full implementation of the goals."

The prime minister stressed that among the key objectives of his government are increasing investment, supporting the private sector and encouraging the economy.

Budget expenditures were increased byMNT2,372 billion, bringing the deficit to 20.6 percent of GDP.

In order to reduce the budget deficit, currently at risk of skyrocketing by year's end, the government plans to alter budget revenues, expenditures and debt ratio. The Bank of Mongolia and the government are developing an emergency programme and will submit the proposal to parliament during the autumn session after parliament approves amendments to the budget.

The decision in mid-August by the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of Mongolia to hike the policy interest rate by 450 basis points (4.5 percent) to make it 15 percent received much critisism from the public. The committee explained that despite inflation being low and stable, their decision was largely influenced by the rapid depreciation of the MNT. While some received the move positively, others held the criticism that loan issuance will decrease with this rise in interest rates, which, in turn, will affect domestic industries negatively.

While Mongolians were debating monetary policy and the budget amendments, Standard & Poor's (S&P) lowered the nation's credit rating from B down to B-. The slash was due to Mongolia's budgetary and financial difficulties, debt burden and foreign operations. S&P believes that Mongolia's slowing economy is caused by a weak macro economy and the real risk of a high budget deficit by the end of the year.

Link to article


Mongolia's Failed Economic Blueprint: Time For New Strategies?

August 31 (UB Post) Mongolia's over-reliance on minerals and heavily regulated foreign direct investment has left its economy in a slump. If Mongolia wishes to recover, new strategies are needed.

Though under communism, Moscow had once provided for one-third of Mongolia's GDP, democracy saw market reforms and extensive privatization usher in a new era for the Mongolian economy. GDP rose and fell during the 1990s, but began to accelerate beginning in the early 2000s. High copper prices and new gold production wrought growth averaging near nine percent per year for 2004-2008. Owing to a decrease in metal prices, and a harsh dzud over the winter that killed many livestock, and thus affected cashmere production, annual growth in 2009 dove to -1.27 percent. Though the economy recovered again in 2010, and reached an all-time high of 17.3 percent in 2011, the good days are now gone.

According to World Bank, Mongolia's GDP plunged to 12.3 percent in 2012, 11.6 percent in 2013, 7.89 percent in 2014, and 2.3 percent last year. What's worse, the World Bank this summer re-designated Mongolia as a "Lower Middle Income Country" (downgraded from an "Upper Middle Income Country"), and Asian Development Bank expects annual GDP growth to be below one percent for both 2016 and 2017. So, what went wrong?

Over-reliance on mineral resources

The problem has really been two-fold. First, Mongolia has been over-reliant on its mineral resources. More than half of Mongolia's GDP is dependent on exports, and about 90 percent of those exports go to China. Mongolia also receives 30 percent of its imports from China, and 90 percent of its energy supplies from Russia, which leaves the economy quite vulnerable to price increases. As in other resource-rich economies, this dependence on mineral resources has left Mongolia at the mercy of boom-bust cycles elsewhere.

"When China sneezes, we get a cold," said Dale Choi, founder and director of the research firm Independent Mongolian Metal &amp; Mining Research. He was talking about how easily China's economic slowdown over the past few years has been negatively affecting Mongolia. Although BMI Research estimates Mongolia's coal production to grow from 36.6 million tons in 2015 to 56.2 million tons in 2020, Chinese demand will continue to decline.

BMI Research says, "We expect China's steel production, the source of demand for coking coal in the country, to register a steady decline averaging -1.3 percent y-o- y over 2016-2020, compared to a 4.9 percent growth over 2011-2015. Production growth in China, the world's largest steel consumer, has peaked and will remain weak due to low prices and a slowdown in Chinese fixed asset investment, and thus, the construction sector."

BMI also expects the Chinese energy market's demand for coal to fall from 64.4 percent in 2016 to 54 percent in 2025, and that, as revenues from coal decline, "Mongolian miners will increasingly need to look to other markets."

Besides China's diminishing demand for coal, Mongolia's copper and gold production (and thus revenues) at Oyu Tolgoi — one of the world's largest copper-gold mines — has also been dropping. The mine produced only 51,700 tons of copper and 70,000 tons of gold in the second quarter of 2016. This is down from 55,300 and 238,000 tons in 2015. Although well-known as "Minegolia" in the past, Mongolia must now look to other options to keep its economy afloat.

Heavily regulated FDI

What has also been crippling GDP growth is the over-regulation of foreign direct investment. Gantuya, a project consultant for Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Ulaanbaatar, believes that Mongolia's current investment environment must be made more attractive.

Gantuya states, "A lot of things should be done… First of all, we should improve the legal environment — make it more kind for [foreign investors]: less taxes, bureaucracy in government, etc. It's very difficult for them. Also, the instability of government is pushing them away. Every two years, the government changes. So, the legal environment should be stable, the government should be stable, and the business environment should be improved."

She is not alone in these beliefs. Christopher MacDougall, writing in The Northeast Asian Economic Review last October, has argued, "Mongolia's political leadership has made several crucial missteps resulting in a drastic decrease in foreign direct investment in the past three years. These have included the introduction and acceptance of several new or amended pieces of legislation that directly contradicted the interest of foreign investors and foreign companies."

An example he gives is the Strategic Entities Foreign Investment Law, passed in 2012. This legislation ensured state oversight of investment by foreign parties in sectors deemed by the Mongolian government to be "strategic." These sectors included telecommunications, banking, finance, and mining. The government now had to approve any foreign investment in these areas exceeding 33 percent, and later tried to enact another law, one limiting the maximum shares of non-Mongolian entities in mining projects to just 66 percent. Though the legislation never passed, the proposal severely damaged the foreign investment community's trust in the business climate, and helped send the message to foreign investors and companies that commercial terms in Mongolia were biased against them.

Another well-known case was when the Mongolian government blocked the sale of the Canadian company SouthGobi Resources Ltd. to the Chinese state-owned enterprise Aluminium Corporation of China Ltd. Such measures worked to destroy foreign investors' confidence in the Mongolian government. According to World Bank, foreign direct investment in Mongolia plummeted from 4.71 billion USD in 2011 to just 195 million in 2015. Clearly, changes need to be made.

New strategies for economic growth

Perhaps, the new government can consider these few modest proposals to get the Mongolian economy back on its feet.

First, the government must restore foreign investors' confidence in Mongolia's market by ensuring stability. The economy is still a developing one with limited domestic capital. In order to reap gains from mineral resource extraction, Mongolia needs the significant upfront investment that non-Mongolian entities can provide. Mongolia's tax regime must be internationally competitive, and guarantee that mining investors can rely on stable tax rules that will not change. Erdenebat Mungunzul and Taikoo Chang of Daegu University have discussed how tax stability agreements can help in reducing perceived risks.

Also, investors should not have to worry about changes in government. Regardless of who holds office, they should provide favorable laws that will not change on a whim, and a welcoming business environment that is not overly partial to domestic industries.

Second, Mongolia should increase trade with its "third neighbors." BMI Research contends how continued reliance on China for exports "will increasingly jeopardize Mongolian miners' expected revenues with slowing demand for coking coal". Mongolia has already begun to make up for this. The government signed a coal agreement with Germany as far back as 2011, a free trade agreement with Japan went into effect this year, and negotiations for a similar agreement with South Korea are already underway. Moreover, whereas Chinese demand for coal will decline, India's demand over the next few years is only expected to rise. BMI forecasts that India's share of global steel production will grow from 3.5 percent in 2015 to 10.4 percent in 2020, and that "lack of transport infrastructure and low coal prices will ensure that India's demand for seaborne coal remains strong". So, there are other options for trade. Mongolia just has to absorb the short-term costs for expanding trade deals.

There is also the issue of bringing in Chinese workers who, though cheap, have aroused the ire of many locals, owing both to anti-Sinocism, and lost jobs. An alternative for Mongolia's government could be hiring more workers from North Korea, with whom Mongolia has no historical grievances. A final idea could be insisting that China employ only ethnic Mongolians, as opposed to Han Chinese.

Third, and finally, Mongolia's government can promote other industries besides minerals. There has been much talk about investing in agriculture and textiles; though, the former is not stable owing to severe winters, and the latter is expensive. Still, organic food could be a major advantage for Mongolia. Dr. D.Shurkhuu of the Institute of International Studies at the Mongolian Academy of Science has argued, "Untouched nature, unpolluted soil, fresh air, and a harsh climate in Mongolia are fundamental to producing original organic food. We have plenty of opportunities to increase production and import the volume of meat, wheat and vegetables… the country must aim to increase meat export volume to one million tons a year by building intensive livestock farms." Dr. Shurkhuu is right. I personally knew an English vegan who, despite his dietary habits, admitted that Mongolian meat is more pure than what he could get back home, and actually ate his fill with me one evening.

Ecotourism is another opportunity. Mongolia's mountains, grasslands, and deserts are pure and plentiful. As the second largest landlocked country in the world, and the least densely populated country in the world, Mongolia could certainly be one of the most inviting places for enjoyment of the earth. According to the Oxford Business Group's 2015 Mongolia report, "The tourism industry has taken on an increasingly central role in Mongolia in recent years… Most local players agree that Mongolia has the potential to eventually become a sizeable and highly profitable tourist destination. The country's many tourism assets bode well for growth."

Another major industry with potential is renewable energy. Mongolia's vast plans get plenty of sunlight. Furthermore, Power Engineering International (PEi) reports that "Mongolia has a staggering 1,100 GW of potential wind power capacity," should all windy areas be developed. They recommend that the government and investors "implement structures to attract highly skilled staff and build capacity in the country". Despite the country's harsh climate and inexperienced construction industry, PEi insists that, with timely scheduling (working from April to November), experienced contractors, and wise management of equipment, Mongolia still has enormous potential in the renewable energy field.

Mongolia need not be discouraged over its recent economic performance, but it can no longer rely almost entirely on China for trade, nor try to tie the hands of foreign investors. Even though economic improvement may be slow in the short-term, there is tremendous long-term opportunity in the many options available for growth.

Link to article

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Politics & Legal

Consolidating Mongolia Budgets Is Priority No. 1, Minister Says

By Michael Kohn

·         Multiple budgets contributed to overspending in Mongolia

·         IMF may be part of solution to help debt-wracked economy

August 30 (Bloomberg) Priority No. 1 for the newly elected government in Mongolia is consolidating all off-budget expenses into one budget to enhance transparency, said Munkh-Orgil Tsend, the country's foreign minister.

The government is trying to bring together multiple budgets -- including the state budget, Development Bank budget, central bank expenditure as well as costs incurred by state-owned enterprises -- which contributed to a blowout in spending, Munkh-Orgil said Tuesday at an American Chamber of Commerce meeting in Ulaanbaatar.

The landlocked nation between China and Russia has been hit hard by the slump in commodity prices and the slowdown affecting its larger neighbors. Senior members of the Mongolian People's Party, which defeated the Democratic Party in a landslide election victory in June, have declared that the nation is in a "deep state of economic crisis." They've introduced austerity measures while the central bank has raised its key interest rate to 15 percent to protect the currency.

Off-budget spending by the previous government comes close to 2 trillion tugrik ($895 million), said Munkh-Orgil, who is a lawyer and Harvard graduate. Mongolia's budget deficit through the first seven months of this year increased 32.6 percent compared with the same period a year ago, according to the National Statistical Office.

IMF Talks

Mongolia is now engaging with foreign and domestic partners to resolve the economic crisis in the short, medium and long term, said Munkh-Orgil. The International Monetary Fund and "some other financial institutions'' are part of the talks, he added.

"It's very important for us to agree on the basic parameters of our engagement,'' said Munkh-Orgil, when asked about talks with the IMF. "We do think that a thorough and open discussion of matters both fiscal and monetary state of affairs is in order.''

The IMF has repeatedly provided money to Mongolia in times of economic crisis, most recently in 2009. With just $1.3 billion in foreign reserves and more than $1 billion in bond repayments coming due in 16 months, Mongolia is running out of time to boost reserves.

For the next two years, Mongolia will focus on finishing existing projects such as half-built schools, hospitals and roads, without starting new projects, said Munkh-Orgil.

Higher Taxes

Increased income tax for people earning more than 2.5 million tugrik, taxes on interest made on bank deposits, excise duties on luxury and high-powered cars and levies on alcohol and tobacco are a few of the proposed hikes.

The Mongolian People's Party is also pitching an increased royalty on gold deposited at the central bank, taxes on imports of used spare parts and the introduction of a real estate tax on apartments greater than 150 square meters.

Foreign investors are an integral part of digging Mongolia out of its current quagmire, said Munkh-Orgil. A council of protecting investors -- which will report directly to the prime minister -- is currently being created and should be up and running within two weeks, he said.

The ruling party also will look into ways to resolve misuse of the so-called exit ban on some foreign nationals, said Munkh-Orgil. It has led to foreign business people being held against their will in the country while cases against their companies were under investigation.

The Ministry of Finance is compiling a list of individuals subject to exit bans to determine the circumstances and severity of their cases, said Munkh-Orgil.

"Unless it is absolutely necessary and justified by both Mongolian and international law, we do not want to have this exit ban in place,'' he said.

Link to article


President to take 30 percent pay cut

August 31 ( - Pay cut of CEO and executives of state-owned enterprises will start Sep 1st -

Authorities have decided to take austerity measures due to lower economic growth. At first, the Government announced to cut salaries for CEO and executives of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) by 30-60 percent. 

This will save MNT 557 million in 2016 by slashing salaries of 256 officials by 30 percent starting Sep 1.

See more details from the table below.


Number of officials

Annual wages per official
(thousand tugrik)

Savings of 2016

Savings of 2017

President of Mongolia





Speaker of the Parliament





Deputy Speaker of the Parliament and Member of Parliament





Prime Minister of Mongolia





Member of Government of Mongolia





Deputy Minister





Head of Cabinet





Advisory to the President 





Head of President`s Office





Advisory to the Prime Minister 





Senior government officials (judges, prosecutor, Constitutional Court, Anti-Corruption Agency)





Senior government officials (supervision judge)





Other senior government officials 





City and aimag governor





Deputy Governor





Head of citizen`s representative meeting





Total savings





In addition, the Ministry of Finance planned to cut salaries of public administration officials by 20 percent. Thus, 1977 public administration officials will take total of MNT 1.5 billion pay cut.

Link to article


President and MP's to take pay cut from 1st, August 31


Budget revenue will be increased by MNT 60 billion

August 31 ( Personal income tax rates set at 10 percent and 25 percent in the draft law of 2016 state budget. If individual gets monthly salary of MNT2.5 million or less, individual will pay 10 percent of taxes. 

If individual gets monthly salary higher than MNT 2.5 million, individual will pay 25 percent of taxes. Therefore, individual with MNT 4 million salary will pay 10 percent of taxes on MNT 2.5 million and 25 percent of taxes on remaining MNT 1.5 million. 

If the Government approves the draft law, it will increase budget revenue by MNT 60.1 billion in 2017. 

According to the statement made by National Statistics Committee, an average monthly wages paid per employee stand at MNT 871.4 thousand as of first quarter of 2016. 

However, only 1.6 percent of total employment earn incomes of more than 2.5 million MNT.

Link to article


Private school teachers sound their opinions on tax increase

Ulaanbaatar, August 31 (MONTSAME) Head of the Parliamentary Standing committee on Education, Culture and Sciences L.Enkh-Amgalan MP received at his office on Tuesday the leaders of the Mongolian Senior Professors' Association and the Association of Private Middle and Primary Schools.

More than eight thousand teachers are working in the 130 privately owned primary and secondary schools, the guests said and added that the pending decision by the parliament on increasing the percentage of the social insurance payables is burdening the financial situation of the private schools.

They also suggested that the Law on Babysitting Service should immediately take effect for its urgent demand in the society. The professors and teachers is asking the parliament not to cut the cash benefits for the senior and retired teachers, mentioning that the teachers, retired before 1996, are living in difficult situations.

Link to article


Defacto Review (2016.08.28)

August 29 -- Discussed topics:

I. Social welfare cuts proposed in 2016 budget amendments

II. More pain to come with tax hikes

III. Credit raters downgrade Mongolia

Link to video


Int'l media symposium to be held

Ulaanbaatar, August 31 (MONTSAME) An international media symposium themed "Present tendency of media" will be organized on Thursday.

Co-organized by the MIU institute, the Confederation of Mongolian Journalists (CMJ), the Mongolian National Radio and Television (MNPRT) and the South Korea's KBS TV, the symposium will be attended by some 100 people including the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Mongolia, governmental leaders, officials from the professional institutions and organizations.

Link to article


100th anniversary of the birth of Yu.Tsedenbal

August 31 ( A non-regular session of Parliament has approved a draft resolution regarding marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of Yu.Tsedenbal, a prominent political figure and General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Mongolian People's Party. It was approved by 91.1% of MPs on Tuesday (30th August).

Yu.Tsedenbal was the leader of Mongolia from 1940 to 1984. During his political life, he served as prime minister and general secretary of the Mongolian People's Party.

Link to article


State Commission Prepares for Day of Politically Repressed

Ulaanbaatar, August 31 (MONTSAME) Mongolia observes the Day of Politically Repressed and pays tribute to the victims of false charges on September 10 of each year.  In the regard, the State Commission on Rehabilitation Management called a meeting on Tuesday to discuss events, dedicated to the day.

In the margin of Day of Politically Repressed, landscaping and cleaning of the surroundings of the Memorial for the Political Repression Victims, the cemetery behind Songinokhairkhan Mountain and the Stupa of Khambyn Ovoo will take place.

Laying wreaths to the Memorial and cash aid to the families and children of the politically repressed are expected.

Link to article


President proposes updated version of the citizenship law

August 30 (UB Post) Last February, the Mongolian Parliament discussed a revised version of the Law of Mongolia on Citizenship. The purpose of this law is to regulate matters relating to the acquisition, restoration, and cessation of Mongolian citizenship. Thus, it is a fundamental law in terms of Mongolia's security and sovereignty. As per the previous law, the revised law does not permit dual citizenship.

Many Parliament members shared the view that Mongolia has lost some of our best citizens because we do not permit dual citizenship. When a well-educated and qualified Mongolian works and lives somewhere abroad, they often give up their Mongolian citizenship and choose the citizenship of that country.

Since 1995, approximately 58,000 Mongolians have renounced Mongolian citizenship and taken up a different nationality. However, Mongolia is steadfast in its position of not granting dual citizenship, as the principal is set out in the Constitution. The Chief Secretary of the President's Office, P.Tsagaan, stated that even if a Mongolian becomes a naturalized citizen of another country, that individual would still have the same rights as any other Mongolian citizen, except for political rights, including the right to run for any kind of election, vote, or work for a government organization.

The article concerning the Mongolian "Blue Card" contained the most amendments in the revised law. There is a lot of negative press in relation to this, with people stating that the advocates of the revised law are trying to overrun the country with foreigners. Every country has racists and nationalists. In any event, their voices went pretty much unheard, as the revised law did not get much attention.

There are three requirements to be satisfied in order to obtain a Mongolian Blue Card. Firstly, one has to be an ethnic Mongolian and have the same knowledge of the Mongolian language as the average citizen. Secondly, one must be a person who has qualifications that are useful to Mongolia, such as high-level qualifications or experience in science, technology, art, or sport. Thirdly, one should have made some form of investment in Mongolia. The Mongolian Blue Card is mainly for people who have married foreigners and renounced their Mongolian citizenship. It allows them to come to Mongolia at any time. For now, approximately 16,000 adults (as well as approximately 9,000 children) have a Blue Card. The Blue Card option is also used by people who need a visa to get into Mongolia. Research conducted by border officials show that many people have said that as Mongolia does not allow dual citizenship, they cannot be citizens, but they still want to visit this beautiful country and pray at Burkhan Khaldun and visit the Chinggis Khaan monument.

In terms of Mongolian citizenship, the following conditions need to be met. First, one should have proper knowledge of the Mongolian language.  Second, one should have proper knowledge of the Mongolian Constitution and Mongolian customs. Third, one should have the means to live and support oneself. Fourth, one needs to have permanently resided in Mongolia for a period of at least five years before the date of their application for citizenship, must be living in the country for no less than nine months out of the year, and paid for their taxes properly. Fifth, one's relationship with foreign countries after acquiring Mongolian citizenship must not negatively impact the reputation and interests of Mongolia. Finally, one must not have committed any crime within a period of time set out in the same law.

There are some defects in the law. For example, it states that based on the request of the Government of Mongolia, foreigners and stateless persons can acquire Mongolian citizenship.  But therefore, even those who can harm the reputation and interests of Mongolia, or those who have committed crimes in the past, can become a Mongolian citizen based on this government request.

Another error is that the amended law states that Mongolia does not permit dual citizenship, but goes on to state (in Article 4.1.3) that persons who hold dual citizenship may not work for the Government of Mongolia. Obviously, if dual citizenship is not permitted, how can someone hold dual citizenship and seek a government position.

Nevertheless, the Law of Mongolia on Citizenship is on track to be adopted by Parliament. Let us hope that in the near future, the Mongolian Blue Card will be as famous as the U.S. Green Card.

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ING Mongolia appoints new chief representative

ING Bank has named Erik Versavel as the new chief representative for Mongolia from September 15 as the former country head takes on a new role at the Dutch lender.

August 30 (GlobalCapital) Versavel will be stepping into the shoes of Howard Lambert as ING's chief representative in the east Asian country, according to a press release.

A banking veteran who has been part of the industry for 30 years, Versavel's credentials include holding several leadership roles in different countries in ...

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B.Byambasaikhan: Erdenes Mongol LLC will become an institute that executes large scale projects

August 30 (UB Post) The following is an interview with CEO of state owned Erdenes Mongol LLC B.Byambasaikhan

It is well known that Erdenes TavanTolgoi LLC is the main subsidiary of Erdenes Mongol LLC. So it is puzzling that Erdenes Mongol LLC does not have a representative on Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi LLC's board of directors. Why is that?

There is a precedent where state owned companies had government officials from ministries and agencies on its board of directors. This precedent is not a positive aspect of a company in a competitive business environment. By law, a member of the board is an authorized executive. An authorized executive makes decisions and is held accountable on many aspects, such their company's strategy, plan, and budget.

For this reason, the job of a member of the board requires a lot of time. It is not possible for busy officials from ministries and agencies to do their job as a member of the board properly. In practice, there is a positive effect on companies when the board is comprised of members that have extensive knowledge of the field and business expertise.

The board of private companies have gone through extensive reform. Investors first look at the administration of a company. Is one person making all the decisions, or is the board fully cooperating to make decisions? Investors tend to put their trust in companies that are well managed and have a board that is comprised of professionals. We are working to improve the governance of Erdenes Mongol and its subsidiaries.

There was an amendment to the Human Development Fund Law in February and we intend to operate by that law. Now, there is a legal environment in which we can nominate and choose members of the board, who then can choose a CEO. There is a need to create a mechanism where companies make right decisions for the company in accordance with the law. There is no need to wait to implement this mechanism, it is possible to do it within a short period of time.

There has been much speculation that the market is in bad condition. Whether the market worsens or improves is not up to us. What is up to us is the management of our company, improving our financial discipline, and cutting costs. We are now moving to a system where professionals are appointed to the board of directors. There is an idea to recruit professionals from companies that have similar operations as Erdenes Mongol, for example Singapore's Temasek or a company from Kazakhstan. The main component of our strategic reform program is to improve the administration of the company.

Will ErdenesTavan Tolgoi's board of directors change in the future?


Erdenes Mongol announced a job opening for an independent board director. What kind of qualifications do you require from someone on the board of directors?

When shareholders approved the by-law of our company, they highlighted that they will hire an independent board director. We are working according to the by-law. Our main asset is natural resources. Our main goal is to use these assets correctly and in a fashion that is profitable. In order to do this, as I mentioned before, we need to improve our financial discipline, and cut costs. We need a professional who has experience in these matters.

Outside of the mining industry, our company has a strategy to be involved in the industries of infrastructure and energy. As a result, we need someone who has experience implementing large projects of infrastructure and energy. Of course, this must be done with close cooperation and consultation of our shareholders and finance department.

It is better if the [independent director] has extensive experience in attracting investors. In practice, executives who have worked on the board of large corporations to improve reputation and profits have very high value in a successful company. The selection process will be concluded soon.

Last week, you presented the strategic reform program of your company. We've never heard this terminology used before.

In order to improve Erdenes Mongol's performance to an international standard, we have started a joint program with the Asian Development Bank. In order to implement this program, we started planning a year ago, and have already done some of the work. To sum it all up, we are implementing a strategic reform in our company. The program will require three years to complete. So far, the first year has passed. We have already decided the source of finance for the program. In the future, our work will be even more extensive.

There were criticisms that the CEO of Erdenes Mongol took out a loan of 35 million USD and was spending it frivolously. What do you think the end result of the program will be?

The company will have financial disciple, high efficiency, and will be profitable. We have set a goal to increase the profits our subsidiaries by 10 to 15 percent. We will also have the capability to implement large projects. Through the program, we will raise capital from international markets. By doing this, the balance of the company will have a strong balance and we will be able to invest in other projects. Some people are questioning why a reform program requires 35 million USD. That is a very narrow way of looking at the issue.

We are implementing reforms to reach a certain result. This is not a process that can be done in a year. Everything we do will be systematic. In the end, Mongolia will have an institute that implements big projects. When Erdenes Mongol was established in 2007, the goal of the company was to implement projects in the mining industry and use the revenue to invest in infrastructure projects. This goal is close to being realized.

In short, you are building the foundation for the next step of the company.

There is a need in Mongolia to implement large projects and develop our infrastructure. The conditions of the market and the possibility to work profitably are all there. The problem of "who can implement them?" comes up. Research by the Asian Development Bank and other international financial organizations reconfirm this problem. There aren't a lot of private companies that have the capability to implement these big projects. Does the government have the capability? The ministries draw up plans and supervise the implementation. The government organizations below the ministries also implement projects but without much success. The reason for this is the problem of financing and lack of human resources. We need an institute that implements large projects of infrastructure, energy, and mining. We are working to make Erdenes Mongol the foundation of that institute. This company has the potential to raise capital and to execute projects. We criticize ourselves for not being able to execute projects that were discussed 20 years ago. Prime Minister J.Erdenebat said, "When trying to implement projects, there is a lack of projects with economic benefits and collateral that meets the standards of the banks."

With any project, five percent of the investment money is used for research and paperwork. High ranking officials' attempts to execute projects without research is not working. In order for a project to survive, there needs to be a market research and risk management.

The strategic reform program has been carried out for a year. What have you accomplished within this time?

First of all, I would point to the start of underground mining at the Oyu Tolgoi mine. OyuTolgoi needed to reach a decision in order for the next project to be implemented.

After that, we found a reason to start the strategic reform. There needs to be a reason for reform. There have been times when we tried to do reform but failed due to lack of capital.

We did our research and reached a decision to implement this project with the Asian Development Bank. Financial discipline is a requirement for any company. In order to have financial discipline, the administrative system is important.

The financial policy and system of our companies were not up to international standards. Because we are a company that manages investments, it is logical to file the balance sheets and annual reports of our companies together. Our companies now filesa single report. The reports now meet international standards. For the last three years, Ernst & Young have done audits on our reports. As a result of this, the possibility of raising capital through investments is increasing. We have made smallbut significant steps towards better financial administration, and as a result, Baganuur and Shivee-Ovoo are projected to gain profit starting next year. We are working to obtain our credit rating. A credit rating is a good way to measure where we are in terms of international companies. It is a goal of ours to have a credit rating which we can use to raise capital. We have determined our total assets to be one billion USD. We have started to file reports on our assets that meet international standards. Investors are eager to join our projects. One example is, our subsidiary Baganuur is undergoing a feasibility study that is in line with the standards of international banks. The process has been ongoing for a whole year. Feasibility studies that meet the standards of banks take more than six months. There are professionals who come to research and determine many things, it is a very intricate process.

You said Erdenes Mongol will have assets worth 10 billion USD in the future. What is the basis of this claim?

We believe regional economic corridor projects to be of extreme importance. For example, China has proposed the One Belt, One Road initiative and are working to implement that proposal. Mongolia, China, and Russia have come to an agreement to establish an economic corridor. The premiers of the three countries have to make an agreement. Through this agreement, many infrastructure projects will be executed. 60 to 70 billion USD is required to provide the conditions for the Mongolian economy to develop. Most of the money will go into large infrastructure and mining projects.

If Erdenes Mongol has good governance and we raise capital to execute large projects, we will have the possibility to reach a 10 billion USD net worth. Our large energy project is already underway. Our projects on providing water and roads will soon start.

Is it true that you are building a large power station to export energy to China?

There is a plan to build a power station that can provide energy to Shivee-Ovoo mine. The feasibility study is underway. The final decision will be made after extensive studies.

What are the challenges you are facing in your reform program. People always suspect government meddling with public companies.

Narrow minded thinking can cause problems. It is important to use the assets we have today correctly. However, when the market, especially the regional market, is ever expanding, we cannot sit still. Let's start new businesses and new projects. Money is not a problem. Money is everywhere in the market. If you create a good project, the money will come. For example, Oyu Tolgoi has taken out loans from 14 banks. We have to think about the next Oyu Tolgoi. All opportunities are open.

Erdenes Mongol is being reformed based on the governance of Singapore's Temasek.  The secret of Temasek's success is said to be competent workforce. Will your company invite competent professionals to work for you?

That is what we're striving for. Whether you succeed or not depends on the competence of the team. We need the most competent professionals at our subsidiaries Baganuur, Shivee-Ovoo, an Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi.

Also when implementing new projects, hiring capable workers will help the company operate more efficiently and profitably. We didn't only look at the system of Temasek but of many other companies as well. We are researching the system of the American General Electric.

Reputable corporations work with General Electric to learn from them. Our partner Rio Tinto is a prime example of a great company. Rio Tinto spends the lowest possible amount and is making a profit in this recession. We are learning from them also.

I would also like to note that it is wrong to assume that we are becoming like Temasek. It is important for us to have a good strategy, to work efficiently and profitably, and also to create an organizations with capable professionals.

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Minister of Foreign Affairs speaks at AmCham Mongolia

Ulaanbaatar, August 30 (MONTSAME) The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Mongolia hosted its August Monthly Meeting with His Excellency Ts. Munkh-Orgil, Member of Parliament and Minister of Foreign Affairs, on Tuesday, August 30th, 2016.

Mr. Manuel Micaller, Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Mongolia also attended the meeting as a special guest. The meeting was the first formal engagement between the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the private sector since the Minister's appointment. The meeting convened over 70 participants, including AmCham members and other representatives from the private sector who were able to hear about the new Government's agenda for overcoming Mongolia's economic challenges and participate in a constructive Q&A session with the Minister.

The Minister provided insightful comments on several highly relevant topics, including the recent issue of the Country of Origin Certificate; proposed tax amendments; proposed amendments to the state budget; and the Government's plans to work with foreign investors. Minister Munkh-Orgil commented on the recent Country of Origin Certificate issue during his keynote remarks and said, "We are now collaborating with the Ministry of Finance to develop necessary amendments to the Law on Customs Tariffs and Duties, such as finding other options to validate the import's origin other than the certificate." "But promoting free enterprise and improving the investment environment are part of the long-term solution to turning the Mongolian economic situation around," said DCM Micaller during his opening remarks, AmCham reports.

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Projects in six provinces to be implemented with ADB

August 30 (Mongolian Economy) On 29 August, L.Enkh-Amgalan, an MP and the Head of the Standing Committee on Social Policy, Education, Culture and Science, received a delegation headed by Yolanda Fernandez Lommen, Country Director for Mongolia of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Yolanda Fernandez Lommen, recently appointed as the ADB representative for Mongolia, discussed and exchanged views on areas in which to cooperate over the coming years and presented the planned projects and programmes to be implemented.

The first measure introduced was a two-phase programme to increase the social participation of disabled people and to improve services for the disabled in six provinces, including access to education and healthcare. In addition, long-term education sector programmes have been planned for rural areas.

L.Enkh-Amgalan MP provided information about the special session and issues to be discussed:

"A special session of parliament was called last week, and many issues, such as amendments to the 2016 budget, related bills and the 2016-2020 Mongolian Government action programmes are under deliberation. We are pleased about the many years of cooperation between the ADB and the parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Policy, Education, Culture and Science. Projects and programmes implemented in the education, health and social sectors in the past have been effective." L.Enkh-Amgalan pointed out that parliament has passed several major bills that have reformed the legal environment of the education and healthcare sectors.

Ms. Lommen reiterated that the healthcare and education sectors are key sectors of any country and said that she will reflect the issues discussed by the parliament's special session in her future works and plans.

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Insurance companies in statistics

Ulaanbaatar, August 30 (MONTSAME) In first half of this year, 17 companies were carrying business in the insurance industry.

In the period, the companies' revenues from insurance premium reached MNT 61.1 billion, declining by MNT 4.1 billion or 6.3%, and the size of insurance claims reached MNT 16.4 billion, decreasing by MNT 2 billion or 10.9% against the previous year.

In the second quarter of 2016, the insurance premium revenue increased by MNT 6.6 billion or 24.4%, whereas the claims went down by MNT 0.2 billion or 2.5% against the 1st quarter of 2016. The number of the insured declined by 212.5 thousand or 52.4%.

In the first half of this year, 598.9 thousand people (duplicated counting) were insured, 377.3 thousand of them were involved in the liability insurance, 106.3 thousand--in insurance of life and health, 91.5 thousand--in insurance of assets, and 23.8 thousand--in financial insurance.

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CPP Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd. Expands to Cambodia, Myanmar and Mongolia

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Aug. 30, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- CPP, Inc. (, the exclusive publisher of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) assessment, today announced that CPP Singapore has expanded its direct market territory--which currently includes Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei--to now include Cambodia, Myanmar and Mongolia, extending the availability of the MBTI and other instruments and professional services into these countries.

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PMI Mongolia Chapter Monthly Meeting, August 31

August 31 (UB Post) PMI Mongolia Chapter NGO will host its monthly meeting at The Blue Sky Hotel and Tower on August 31. Managing Director at Wagner Asia Automotive LLC Garrett Wilson will be a guest speaker of the event and a lecture titled "Effective Business Management is Learning to Manage Multiple Projects Simultaneously".

Garrett Wilson first came to Mongolia in 1998 as a volunteer English teacher, as a missionary, and a humanitarian service worker. He returned to Mongolia in 2012 working with Wagner Asia Group in various positions. He is currently working as the Managing Director of Wagner Asia Automotive, the Ford and Land Rover dealer for Mongolia.


Where: The Blue Sky Hotel and Tower

When: August 31, 6:30 p.m.

Admission: Free

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Jeans Festival 2016, September 2-3 Shine Mongol Resort

August 31 (UB Post) Jeans Festival 2016 will take place at Shine Mongol Resort on September 2 and 3. The festival will be held under the motto "Preserve Mazaalai".

Shine Mongol Resort is located 60 km from Ulaanbaatar.


Where: Shine Mongol Resort

When: September 2 and 3, 3:00 p.m.

Ticket Price: 20,000 MNT

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Construction and urban planning policy of Government Action Plan 2016-2020

August 31 ( Newly formed Government, after the 7th Parliamentary election, has developed National Action Plan of Government of Mongolia to be implemented in 2016-2020 in accordance with the the Mongolian Sustainable Development strategy until 2030, MPP action plan, civil society organizations, international contracts and public opinion. 

The following plan included 90 percent of Mongolian People`s Party action plan which won the 2016 Parliamentary Election and it will be implemented after approved by the State Great Khural. 

The Government has submitted to implement following policies in construction and urban planning sector:

1.    Widen the scope for mortgage loan by easing requirements and implementing different types of loan programs

2.    Implement "Affordable housing" national program and develop integrated policy with the aim to supply the housing needs 

3.    Update normative document system in accordance with international standards and create environment to use international normative documents

4.    Develop general development project of Mongolian settlement in accordance with the systems of region, group and village

5.    Improve the legal framework for land use and ownership and create integrated policy and system

6.    Map Mongolian territory and create geodetic networks

7.    Create legal framework to develop Ulaanbaatar city 

8.    Implement "Street" and "Cycling road" sub-programs in accordance with General Plan on the Development of Ulaanbaatar city 

9.    Increase green facilities of Ulaanbaatar city and aimag centers by three times 

10.  Upgrade buildings and constructions of Ulaanbaatar city and other biggest cities in scope of urban development policy. Reduce air pollution by implementing ger district re-planning program

11.  Use tunnel system in new apartments to be built in biggest cities and residential areas 

12.  Implement policy to develop production of construction materials directed at reducing the cost of construction, extending the period of construction industry, decreasing the weight of construction and reducing heat loss while improving the fire resistance

13.  Update statistics of earthquake frequency and reflect it to the construction planning in order to improve durability and reliability of buildings

14.  Develop and implement state general policy on public utilities in accordance with the general urban development plan

15.  Plan the drinking water system of new apartments separately and reuse gray water in accordance with international standards. Develop policy to use gray water to irrigate green facilities. 

16.   Intensify reform of waste water treatment plants of UB and other biggest cities with foreign and domestic investments in accordance with the general urban development plan

17.  Use water treated at the Water Treatment Plant and soil water for industrial technology demand

18.  Improve wireless internet access and provide opportunities to use it in recreational areas and libraries

19.  Increase water flow of Tuul, Selbe and Dund rivers and create cozy environment alongside of rivers

20.  Double parking lots by building parking lots at b1 floors of towns and public service centers 

21.  Complete construction of engineering networks in Selbe and Bayankhoshuu sub-centers

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UB holds vegetable trade fairs in six districts

August 31 ( "Golden Autumn" vegetable trade fair is being held at 190 spots of six districts of UB city during Aug 25-Oct 25. 

Every district has at least two spots selling newly harvested veggies and fruits. 

Sukhbaatar square, Builders square and Zhukav square will host fruit and vegetable trade fairs starting Sep 15th.

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Tourism in Mongolia: Quality or quantity?

By Anita Fahrni

August 31 (UB Post) Gantemur Damba is president of the Mongolian Tourism Association and heads a large group of influential organizations important to the development of this country. He has worked as a consultant and project director for major international organizations. Until recently, he was General Director of the Culture and Art Policy Coordination Department of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. He studied and worked abroad for many years.

Anita Fahrni, with the Swiss Program for Language Instruction and Teacher Training, spoke with Gantemur about an industry in transition.

Having studied in several countries and traveled widely, you call yourself a "global nomad". How has this affected your view of your homeland?

I am from Arkhangai, and am deeply rooted in Mongolian culture and Tibetan Buddhist philosophy. I know old Mongolian and Tibetan. The thinking and lifestyle of Mongolians today is very different from that of earlier times. Life here is no longer lived according to the virtues of the former Mongolian mentality. We have lost the very fundamental values of earlier societies, the qualities of virtue, knowledge, skills, and ethics. This is due only partially to external factors. It worries me that we have lost the competitive qualities necessary to face today's economic challenges. These cultural questions affect everything we do.

As president of the Mongolian Tourism Association, is it your job to see that as many tourists as possible come to Mongolia?

The current government has published very ambitious figures, hoping to receive one million visitors in 2017 and four million per year by 2020. The numbers are presented without the government having studied the questions involved or having useable action plans. We need a clear picture of what Mongolia really is, of what it has to offer, of its competitive advantages, and of the expectations of potential tourists.

This is not Bali or Brazil. Ours is a specific niche market: high-end, specialized tourism for which we need improvements down the whole value chain. Quality rather than quantity! Lots of research was done earlier, for example by World Bank, extensive studies which few have ever read. One simply assumes that if no visa is required, Chinese and Russians will come! All tourists need quality service.

Tourism offers not only economic but also cultural and social opportunities. In order to provide good services to tourists, we must understand what foreigners want to do and to see, and integrate that into our offerings.

Where exactly do you see dangers to the quality of tourism here?

I see three major dangers. The first danger is a lack of security for investment in the tourism sector. Mongolia sells landscapes, both natural and cultural. Myths and narratives are very important. A quality tourist camp needs a landscape. If, suddenly, a cement block can be built next door, who will invest? Terelj is a good example of what has gone wrong.

I categorize places according to three M's. The first M stands for modified places, basically spoiled. That includes Terelj, Kharkorum, and West Khuvsgul Lake, where there are 25 ger camps. In the second category are places which have been marginalized through bad planning. These are places like Dalanzagad and the Yoliin Am, or Bogd Khan Mountain. The third M is for the authentic, untouched Mongolia, which is what visitors want to see.
The second danger is the loss of this authenticity through our own lack of understanding of what we have to offer, what we have to sell.

The third danger is the lack of creativity. If we just make a copy of what we see elsewhere, creativity will always be lost, not understanding the intangible services needed to match the expectations of tourists. An example of the lack of creativity is the poor quality and poor design of felt slippers sold everywhere.

Can the uncontrolled spread of poorly built and badly maintained ger camps in locations that were once beautiful be stopped?

Basically, all tourists want to get out of Ulaanbaatar. They need the basics: a bed, a shower, and breakfast. Some want more comfort, some are content with less. Maximizing the number of beds is wrong. Rather, one should optimize amenities, offering landscapes of quality. Many camps have no business and could easily be dismantled. Trash management and wastewater management must be developed.

Even Mongolian tourists want to see nature and trees rather than cars and fences in front of their ger. Buffer zones around special spots and land use planning would lead to longer visits and more income for the local population.

Mongolia is seen as being a natural paradise, the Mongolians as being close to nature, the Earth being almost sacred to them. Travel agencies use this image to attract tourists. Are Mongolians still in touch with nature? Do they still respect the land?

Unfortunately, "development" is defined by many Mongolians as meaning "building". One is moving away from nature, away from a creative economy based on natural resources and potential, building with bricks instead of building knowledge and skills. Maybe these concepts will be understood only after our mistakes become clear; our children will be left to undo what we have done badly. Now, most of them watch scenes in movies from Hollywood instead of enjoying the scenes of their spectacular homeland.

One would hope that all Mongolians could profit from tourism. That requires an appropriate infrastructure and the development of skills in fields such as visitor services, quality cultural presentations, the creation of well-designed souvenirs and foreign languages. Do you see these developments taking place?

You are right about those requirements. I speak of the need for quality in all actions and all sectors. My message is that many people talk very nicely about what is needed, agreeing politely about the situation, but then do the absolute opposite of what they have said. The desire for quality, for honesty and ethics, is lacking. Very little is actually done, no quality progress is made.

In spite of this lack of motivation for change, are you optimistic about the future of tourism in this very special country?

Very optimistic! Mongolia has truly deep and rich resources in the arts and culture, resources which are not being valued or presented at the moment. Creative and intelligent tourism policy and efficient management planning are all that is needed.

There is potential in Mongolia, not only for leisure tourism but also for MICE, which stands for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Events. Mongolia has proven that it can organize major high-level meetings, supporting dialog among nations. One simply has to sell the location actively. Mongolia's golden magic could help reduce current international tensions. We have the key to open up doors to world peace.

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UB City and IRI to consolidate cooperation

Ulaanbaatar, August 31 (MONTSAME) Country Director for Mongolia of the International Republican Institute (IRI) Ashleigh Whelan was received by the Governor of Capital city S.Batbold on August 31. The latter extended gratitude to IRI for collaboration with the Government, political parties and civil societies in promoting democracy and citizen-oriented governance.

After mentioning that he received training back in 2003 in the USA on sophisticating electoral system, the Mayor pledged his support for the further IRI-assisted actions.

On the frameworks by IRI, Ms Ashleigh Whelan mentioned that, since 1992, IRI has been maintaining close cooperation with the UB City administration and has assisted in implementation of the good governance program and co-organized the "Open Ulaanbaatar" Anti-Corruption Forum in the past two years. The IRI has worked for inclusion of a "Municipal Program against Corruption" in the Mayor's action plan and for ensuring the budget transparency.

Mayor S.Batbold noted that Ulaanbaatar, besides having population of 1.3 million, receives 25-30 thousand people from the countryside each year as permanent residents, and that it is important to strengthen cooperation with IRI on citizen's participation. He proposed to jointly conduct a study on the effectiveness of public services, which Ms Whelan has approved.

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The Asia Foundation to support Ulaanbaatar eco developments

August 30 ( S.Batbold, Ulaanbaatar city mayor received Meloney C. Lindberg, Country Representative in Mongolia at the Asia Foundation today (30th August). At the meeting, they discussed cooperating projects between the Asia Foundation and Ulaanbaatar city. Ms. Lindberg noted that the Asia Foundation is to support and cooperate on eco developments in Ulaanbaatar over the next years.

Currently, the Foundation programmes help to strengthen anti-corruption initiatives and improve administrative reform, improve municipal governance and civic engagement, increase gender equality, promote the responsible use of resources use and environmental conservation, as well as supporting Mongolia's multilateral foreign policy engagement.

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UB's largest district to solve lighting problems through cooperation with S.Korean engineers

Ulaanbaatar, August 30 (MONTSAME) Number of households without electric power supply is greater in Songinokhairkhan than any other districts of Ulaanbaatar. The administration of Songinokhairkhan and the Korea Electrical Engineering Association established an agreement on cooperation in this matter.

In accordance, the two sides will set out certain plans to resolve the lighting for these households of ger (national dwelling) -areas. The agreement will be effective for three years.

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Sub-center project to be implemented with USD 27.5 million

August 30 ( Project members of Ulaanbaatar Urban Services and Ger Areas Development

Investment Program made introductory meeting today with the aim to begin the second phase of project. City Governor S.Batbold, Deputy governor in charge of infrastructure development P.Bayarkhuu, Urban planning specialist of Asian Development Bank, project members and project advisory group have attended the meeting and determined the implementation of process.

Asian Development Bank in cooperation with European Investment Bank will build infrastructural center by re-planning ger-areas in Bayankhoshuu and Doloon buudal where 200 thousand people can live. The project has planned to begin in 2015 and the first phase of project is expected to be completed in 2018. In further, kindergarten for 240 children and Vocational Training Center for 300 students and business center will be built at Bayankhoshuu and Selbe sub centers. Moreover, new roads and storm sewer will be installed while landscaping will be done. 

Ulaanbaatar Urban Services and Ger Areas Development Investment Program will bring major change in Ulaanbaatary city development. However, construction is being delayed due to land acquisition. Therefore, City Governor stressed that it is needed to intensify the construction and shorten the implementation period. 

Ulaanbaatar Urban Services and Ger Areas Development Investment Program will be implemented by total of USD 27.5 million. The second phase of the project will cover ger-areas in Dambadarjaa and Denjiin 1000.

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ASEM members travel by train on quest for infrastructure solutions

August 31 (MONTSAME) Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) is organizing the 20th summer training for young scholars and researchers from ASEM members. Attracted 48 youths from 46 countries, this year's training is being held in a route Beijing – Harbin – Khabarovsk – Chita – Irkutsk – Ulaanbaatar.

When the participants came to the Ulaanbaatar Railway station, they were welcomed by authorities of the Ulaanbaatar Railways Joint Stock venture and the Union of Mongolian Youths.

Leonie Nagarajan, Director of ASEF Education Department:

- This year marks 20th anniversaries of the Asia-Europe Meeting and the ASEF Summer Training. I think this is a brilliant coincidence, so this project is being implemented under a theme "Connectivity". The training has brought together youths aged 18 to 30. They are learning an opportunity for connecting the two continents through all sorts of infrastructure.

B.Monkhnaran, a participant from Mongolia:

- This measure has great significance because main goal of this training is to deliver our voice on an infrastructure development to authorities.

Katarina Sokolova:

- I am very happy that this training has brought to us to ensure our role in infrastructure issues that will strengthen the inter-continent connectivity.

This year's training is being held with participation of youths who are majored in transportation and trade through a train journey in frames a policy on fortifying the connectivity between Asia and Europe that will be connected through all kinds of infrastructure.

The participants said they are exchanging views on their research works after obtaining information from every spot they traveled.

Under a different theme, the annual summer training selects one participant from each ASEM member. Mongolia has been attending the event since 2015.

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ASEM youth travel by train through China-Mongolia-Russian

August 31 ( A team of young professionals and students from a total of 51 Asian and European  countries, has been travelling together for 2 weeks by train across China, Mongolia and the Russian Federation under the theme "Gateways of Asia and Europe: Connectivity by Land, Sea & Air". The international youth team arrived in Ulaanbaatar yesterday (30th August). The train journey passes through emerging economic corridors in these three countries. The Mongolian leg has been co-organized by the Mongolian Youth Federation and Ulaanbaatar Railway Joint Venture Company. The train journey began on 15th August from Beijing and has passed through Harbin (China), Vladivostok (Russian Federation), Chita (Russian Federation), Irkutsk (Russian Federation) and ended in Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia). Staying in Ulaanbaatar for three days, the young people will plant a tree, to see the Ulaanbaatar Railway Museum and learn from local communities.

The 20th ASEF Summer University (ASEFSU20) is for explore the role of transportation and trade in connecting Asia and Europe. In conjunction with the 20th Anniversary of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) process, ASEFSU20 explores the concept of "Connectivity" between Asia and Europe from 3 lenses: Human Connectivity, Trade and Economic Cooperation, and Transport.

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ASEM youths travel by train on quest for infrastructure solutionsMontsame, August 31


Mongolia-Korea communication & media symposium, September 1

August 31 ( A Mongolia-Korea communication & media symposium will take place in the main hall of the Mongolian International University (MIU) from 10 A.M to 4:30 P.M tomorrow (1st of September). The symposium is entitled 'Media and Communication Education in Mongolia and the Digital Transformation of Media and Society'. A keynote speech will be given about "Nation-building and the Media", by In-Ho Lee, the Chair of the Korea Broadcasting System.

Link to article


Mongolia-UAE to set up intergovernmental commission

August 30 ( J.Erdenebat, Prime Minister of Mongolia received Abdullah Abdulrahman Abdullabin Rabia Al Tinij, the UAE Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Mongolia on Tuesday (30th August). At the meeting J.Erdenebat noted that Mongolia intends to boost economic cooperation with the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Prime Minister noted that the government of Mongolia intends to discuss a Mongolia-UAE agreement on economic and technical cooperation next month.

In response, the UAE Ambassador, said he is focusing on strengthening bilateral relations since the opening of the Embassy in Ulaanbaatar.  He asked J.Erdenebat to pay attention to a proposal on setting up a Mongolia-UAE intergovernmental commission.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) opened its Embassy in Ulaanbaatar in March. It is an evidence of the UAE and Mongolian cooperation and diplomatic relations.

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"Mongolia aspires to boost economic cooperation with UAE"Montsame, August 30


Cultural days of South Korea to take place next week

August 31 (MONTSAME) The building with a unique architectural style has been erected recently in Ulaanbaatar. This is the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Mongolia, which moved to a new office two months ago.

The Embassy officials reported Tuesday that the 1st floor of the building will be devoted to upcoming Korean cultural events to be held next week.

Details were given by Mr Oh Song, the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Mongolia, about the forthcoming Korean cultural days to be held on September 6-12. Some interesting measures have been planned to promote both Mongolian and Korean culture and their ties. For instance, a fashion show of the Korean national clothes hanbug will be organized on the first day of the event. Not only hanbug, various styles of the Mongolian traditional clothes deel will be displayed, the Ambassador said.

Apart from clothes, days of national foods, a concert of Korean groups and singers and a demonstration of Korean national martial art taekwondo will be organized. A photo exhibition about Mongolian natural landscape will be mounted as well, the Ambassador said.

Established the diplomatic relations in 1990, the countries have been intensifying their cooperation in all spheres, and the economic cooperation has been enriching with wide contents thanks to a regularization of high-level mutual visits.

Link to article


Agenda for South Korean cultural daysGoGo Mongolia, August 30


Learning lore of Mongolia

August 30 (Wellington Times) The Wellington Branch of the Country Women's Association recently celebrated International Day by focusing on Mongolia, its country of study.

Among the celebrations were a bright, colourful display of posters from local schools and talks by four guest speakers.

The speakers were branch international officer Joan Snelson, branch secretary Bev Cameron, branch publicity officer Helen Norris and Jenny Kline.

Bev Cameron had taken school children on an excursion to Mongolia.

Helen Norris spoke on some aspects of the clothing worn in Mongolia.

Jenny Kline had lived in Mongolia for several years.

In the background a DVD was shown with the story of a Mongolian family and their dog. The afternoon concluded with a tea with a Mongolian influence.

CWA members study a different country each year, learning the social, economic and political aspects of that country.

Link to article


Mongolia considering joining Eurasian Economic Union

MOSCOW, 30 August (BelTA) - Mongolia is considering joining the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), reads a press release by the press service of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) issued at the conclusion of the meeting between Chairman of the EEC Board Tigran Sargsyan and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to Russia Banzragch Delgermaa, BelTA has learned.

The parties discussed trade and economic cooperation. Tigran Sargsyan expressed confidence that the EEU and Mongolia will continue to successfully develop all-round cooperation in accordance with the memorandum of cooperation signed between the EEC and the Government of Mongolia last year. He stressed that Mongolia and the EEU have many points of contact. "This is not only, for example, export of goods from Mongolia to our Union. These are also the issues related to the establishment of joint ventures, investment projects. We do not limit the range of topics that may interest our Mongolian partners," Tigran Sargsyan said.

In response to the suggestion of the Mongolia Ambassador to consider the accession of Mongolia to the Eurasian Economic Union or singing a free trade agreement (FTA), Tigran Sargsyan recalled his experience. "Three years ago, when I was at the head of the government of Armenia, we were facing the same choice: whether to join the Eurasian Economic Union. Back then we carefully analyzed everything, weighed all pros and cons. Our decision to join the EEU was very pragmatic, based on thorough calculations of all economic parameters," the press service quoted Tigran Sargsyan as saying.

The Ambassador of Mongolia noted that a study group was established, as envisaged in the memorandum, with the aim of developing the economic dialogue between the EEU and the Government of Mongolia. Ambassador Banzragch Delgermaa suggested considering, in the context of the work of the study group, the reduction of import duties on a number of Mongolian goods, and applying the experience of creating the FTA between Vietnam and the EEU to Mongolia.

"Many countries suggest us concluding FTAs. They rightly see the Eurasian Economic Union as a vast market for their goods. In this context, we always ask them a question: once we open our market what our business will get in return? Our study group should find mutual benefits," Tigran Sargsyan said.

The parties agreed to hold a meeting of the study group in October. It will be co-located, on the proposal of the Mongolian Ambassador, with a joint business forum with the participation of business of Mongolia and the EEU countries.

Link to article


Russia, Mongolia troops hold first joint drill at Selenga 2016 exercise

The exercises started on August 30 and will last until September 7.

August 31 (TASS) The first joint drill was held at the Burduny range (Russia's Buryatia republic) on Wednesday within the framework of the Russian-Mongolian military exercise Selenga 2016, spokesman for the Russian Eastern Military District Colonel Alexander Gordeyev told TASS.

"During the joint training units of the Eastern Military District and the Mongolian armed forces practiced tactical groups' movement on approach routes and the organization of communication between the units. The Joint Staff of the exercise command agreed the command and liaison signals common for both sides," the official said.

The exercises started on August 30 and will last until September 7. The manoeuvers involve some 1,000 troops and up to 200 units of military equipment on both sides. In particular, the drills involve a tank battalion, a motorized infantry company, a mortar battalion, howitzer self-propelled artillery and rocket batteries, air defense, reconnaissance and NBC protection units of Russia's Eastern Military District. The Mongolian Armed Forces are represented in the exercise by motorized infantry companies with infantry combat vehicles and armored personnel carriers, a tank platoon, a mortar and a rocket battery.

The Russian-Mongolian Selenga manoeuvers are held annually since 2008. Before 2011, it was a tactical exercise with live firing that was called Darkhan, which means "Builder" in Mongolian. Last year, the exercise was held in Russia's Trans-Baikal Territory. Then the drills participants practiced assault river crossing and tactical landing.

Link to article


Ambassador of Belarus S.Chepurnoy meets the Minister of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry of Mongolia

August 30 (MFA Belarus) On August 30, 2016 the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Belarus  to Mongolia, Stanislav Chepurnoy, met with the Minister of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry of Mongolia, Purev Sergelen.

During the meeting, the sides discussed current state and prospects of bilateral cooperation. Special attention was paid to the collaboration in the sphere of agrarian science, veterinary medicine and education, as well as the possibility of the use of Belarusian technologies and equipment in agricultural area of Mongolian economy.

Link to release


FM Ts.Munkh-Orgil meets Ambassador of Israel

Ulaanbaatar, August 31 (MONTSAME) Minister of Foreign Affairs Ts.Monkh-Orgil received Tuesday Matan Vilnai, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Israel to Mongolia, due to completion of his diplomatic mission here.

Emphasizing this year marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and Israel, the Foreign Minister appreciated Vilnai's significant contributions towards strengthening bilateral relations, specifically in the areas of defense and security cooperation.

Ambassador Vilnai highlighted that the countries are possible to expand the inter-citizen ties and the cooperation in the agricultural sphere.

Parties also exchanged views on the bilateral cooperation such as holding a regular consultative meeting between the countries' Ministries of Foreign Affairs.

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Health, Education

New school year starts at 8AM nationwide

August 31 ( 2016-2017 new school year will start at 8AM nationwide in accordance with the decree issued by D.Erdenechimeg, Head of Education Policy Department, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Sports. 

Secondary schools follow their own schedule starting Sep 2th.

Link to article


New academic year to start tomorrowUB Post, August 31


President Ts.Elbegdorj to hold annual TV lesson

August 31 ( President Ts.Elbegdorj will host a TV lesson on the subject of  "Mongolia's Global Fame" on the first day of the new school year, tomorrow (1st September). The TV class will be broadcast on Mongolian National Public Radio and television (MNB) nationwide, celebrating the new school year. The lesson also includes the first two chapters of the "Secret History of the Mongols".

This is the eight year that Ts.Elbegdorj has hosted a TV lesson for school children on September 1st as President of Mongolia.

Link to article


President to give opening lesson of academic yearsMontsame, August 31


ADB's healthcare access project to launch next year

Ulaanbaatar, August 30 (MONTSAME) Vice Minister of Health, Mr L.Byambasuren received Tuesday the Senior Project Officer (Healthcare Sector) at the Mongolia Resident Mission of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), to get au fait with the preparatory works of the Project on Improving Access to Health Services for Disadvantaged Groups.

The project is aiming to improve access to healthcare for residents of ger (national dwelling)-areas, where nearly 60 percent of all citizens of Ulaanbaatar reside.  In its margin, constructions of 10 primary healthcare centers, one medical center and renovations in two hospitals are expected to take place, inform the ADB officers.

Link to article


MASA Alumni Talk: V. Uyanga, Felbright Fellow, Rochester Institue of Technology

August 31 (UB Post) Mongolian Association of State Alumni (MASAO) will hold a lecture for the new academic year at the American Corner on September 2.

The speaker for September will be V.Uyanga, a 2014-2016 Fulbright Fellow. She completed her master's degree in business administration with focus on digital marketing at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. Prior to her master's V.Uyanga worked for The New Media Group, while being actively involved in organizing TEDx events in Ulaanbaatar.

Currently, she is a member of the Global Shapers Community Ulaanbaatar Hub. Her talk will focus on her Fulbright experience and education in the USA.

The talk will be held in Mongolian.


Where: American Corner

When: September 2, 5:00 p.m.

Admission: Free

Link to article


Steppes to Columbia


August 31 (UB Post) It's just after six in the morning, and eight-year-old Otgontugs Banzragch, a future alumna of the Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences class of 2011, is starting her day. She wakes up in a bed beside which a baby goat sleeps when it's winter to keep from freezing in the notoriously brutal cold of the Mongolian countryside.

Around the rest of the ger, Banzragch's grandmother, father, mother, and sister are also rising, preparing to milk the cows and make tea.

Banzragch first gathers water – 10 liters in each hand – from the Delgermurun, the same river she bathes in when the weather's warm enough. In the wintertime, she pays a dollar for hot showers from the communal bathhouse in town.

Today, Banzragch cannot wrestle and ride the baby cows and goats like she wants to. It is her turn to look after the animals.

Alone for nine hours only with 200 to 400 sheep and goats and the mountains, rivers, and lakes of Mongolia's Khuvsgul Province, there is little to keep Banzragch entertained. Even a half hour of rest is enough time to lose track of her flock, so instead, she thinks. She fantasizes about next summer and about the dress and bike that she'll ask her grandparents for on their next trip into town.

She dreams about a new ball, about chocolate and orange juice from Russia, about apples. They are only available around the New Year. Her mouth waters just from the smell of them in the local store.

Nutrition is never far from Banzragch's mind when a herding lifestyle leaves her drinking mostly cow's and goat's milk, and communist rations make the freshest food in her belly the meat from the marmots that her uncles hunt in the summer.

The young Banzragch thought about many things in Murun soum in northern Mongolia, but never did she contemplate her schooling. Nor did she ever believe that one day she would be the first Mongolian to graduate with a Ph.D. from Columbia University.

Sixteen years later, in 1992, soon after Mongolia's democratic revolution ended 70 years of socialism, Banzragch was on a train in Russia. She had just graduated with a bachelor's degree from Lomonosov Moscow State University and sat on the Trans-Siberian Railroad to take what she believed would be her final trip back home.

"That's the last time I'm seeing this city," she thought to herself.

In a turn of events that was perhaps as unexpected as Mongolia's massive and rapid shift away from socialism, Banzragch found herself, five years later, in Manchester, England, studying for a master's degree in economics.

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Culture, Society

J.K.Alan Sanders: "Mongolia has changed physically"

August 30 ( Senior Mongolist shares his story and perspectives

On August 15-18, the 11th International Congress of Mongolists convened in Ulaanbaatar under the general theme 'Mongol Studies and Sustainable Development'. The event was organized under the patronage of the of the President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj who refered it to as 'the Olympics of Mongolists'. More than 400 scholars and researchers from 29 countries were brought together in Ulaanbaatar for the quinquennial event. Mr.Alan Sanders, a Mongolist from the UK, who was attending the event, talked to the Mongol Messenger about his stories and perspectives connected to Mongolia.  

When an elderly man stood up to deliver a speech at one of the panel sessions of the 11th International Congress of Mongolists, I silently wondered if he was one of the oldest Mongolists alive today.  I was right.  He kindly welcomed my request to hear some of his quest in and about Mongolia.  Back in 1968, an exchange student from the UK came to the then socialist Mongolia.  He wasn't just an exchange student; he was a Mongolist and had already written his first book about Mongolia.  His name was Alan John Kelday Sanders.  He was 31 at the time.

Mr. Sanders, now 79, has been and is still attending the International Congress of Mongolists.  In fact, it is his 12th time in Mongolia since 1968.  "My book was published in 1968 which was the year I first came to Mongolia.  It was called 'People's Republic of Mongolia: a General Reference Guide", he told me.  "I often had Mongolian and Russian text through 'Unen' and 'Novosty Mongolii' of MONTSAME, so I was able to collect information about Mongolia. That's how it began," he recalls the old times.

"I was delighted because Mongolia was just as beautiful as I imagined.  Then I had to learn from my own personal experience about the life and people of Mongolia."  He shared his first impressions of 1968 Mongolia with me.  Mr. Sanders stayed in Mongolia for four months during winter.  "It was actually very cold that year.  In those days, they used to have parades on Sukhbaatar Square.  It was all very interesting; but -40 degrees is very cold", he laughed.  "I don't think I have never been quite so cold standing in the street for two hours.  But I still have photographs of that time", he remarked.  Now that's what I call fortune because being even younger than Mongolian democracy, I was thrilled to know that he was in possession of rare photographs of Mongolia almost 50 years back.

His first article about Mongolia came out in 1972 in an English journal in Hong-Kong named 'Far Eastern Economic Review' after which he continued writing about Mongolia for many years.  His other publications about Mongolia may include 'Colloquial Mongolian' and 'Mongolian: Lonely Planet Phrasebook' which he co-authored with J.Bat-Ireedui, 'Mongolia, Politics, Economics and Society' and 'Historical Dictionary of Mongolia', one of his well-known works.

"Mongolia has changed physically; more buildings, lots of people on the street, more cars than back in 1968.  Hardly anybody owned a car at that time, but underneath, Mongolian people are still very much the same; they have the same interest, same fears and same worries as they used to have.  Economic conditions of the country are different, but the same uncertainties such as worries about the future of the country or physical safety of the country still exist as they used to."  He compared the Mongolia he came to in 1968 and the Mongolia he now knows.  "But you could say that Mongolians feel happier now because they have international treaties to safeguard the future of the country", he added after which his wife Tina Tamman, 'a part-time Mongolist' as Mr. Sanders defined, suggested her opinion about Mongolians' punctuality.  "They're more punctual now", they both agreed.

"I have to say that it was one of the happiest days of my life when democracy came to Mongolia, and of course, democracy is a problem because it requires all kinds of new ideas and things.  Some of these haven't yet come completely true even after 25 years.  There are still some things which still reflect the old Mongolia; but overall, I'm very happy with Mongolia's shift to democracy in 1990."

Since the establishment of the International Association for Mongol Studies in 1987, Mr. Sanders has been coming to Mongolia every five years to attend the Congress.  Moreover, he and his wife have visited Mongolia as tourists as well.  "What I like best of all is the colors you have, they are unusual.  You have turquoise and mauve, the kind of colors that other countries don't have.  They are in the hills and the way clouds form and throw shadows on the ground.  It's a very beautiful landscape", said Tina who is the author of a British novel 'Portrait of a Secret Agent'.  "I like the spring landscape when the grass is green and the wild flowers come up", Mr. Sanders added to his comment.  "We live in England and what is very attractive in Mongolia is that you can go somewhere where there are no people there at all and it is silent," Tina conveyed.

Both as a young Mongolian and a journalist, I was very fortunate to have met such a an important figure in Mongolian studies given how much he saw and understands of Mongolia, including the width of insight he has into our country.  He continued to surprise me with more revelations such as being a long-time subscriber to The Mongol Messenger and being connected to the 'MONTSAME' agency.  Mr. Sanders, being a subscriber of the Mongol Messenger has kept all copies of the newspaper since 1992 up until now and wanted to convey his suggestion regarding the adaption of standard system of spelling 'Romanization' to the newspaper.

Seeing as how he came to Mongolia as early as in 1968, and knows what Mongolia has gone through before and after the Democratic Revolution, I personally would define Mr. Sanders as a walking source of Mongolia's progress of the last 50 years.  I reckon he was happy to convey his perspectives and recall his memories about Mongolia and would be happier to pass on his deep knowledge of our country to those with a keen interest to study Mongolia and carry on his legacy.

Link to article


Young Mongols: Food

August 29 (Young Mongols) What's Mongolian food like? These Young Mongols are venturing beyond traditional mutton and flour to bring new and fresh food to Ulaanbaatar. Featuring interviews with Enkhzaya of Rosewood Restaurant and The Butchery and Enkhbaatar Dorj of AYC, Mongolia's first juice bar.

Link to video


Mogi: this is false. New road rules took effect last September

New traffic safety rules to take effect in September

August 31 (UB Post) A new traffic safety rule will take effect on September. The rights and duties of drivers and pedestrians were reflected on these new rules.

The following 24 traffic penalties will be imposed starting September 1.

1. 19,200 MNT for stopping a vehicle on the pedestrian crossing

2. 48,000 MNT and up to six months of license suspension for speeding

3. 384,000 MNT and six to 24 months of license suspension for driving under the influence

4. 30 days of detainment for repeated driving under the influence

5. 960,000 MNT for traffic lights that cause road accidents (applicable to private companies that regulate traffic lights)

6. 9,600 MNT for not making way for pedestrians at crossings

7. 19,200 MNT for using long distance light at close range

8. 48,000 MNT for driving a vehicle without lights

9. 19,200 MNT for driving too slowly and causing traffic congestion

10. 960,000 MNT for installing a decelerator without official permission

11. 48,000 MNT for driving while sick

12. 48,000 MNT for driving without documentation or license on person

13. 960,000 MNT for not maintaining road standards (applicable to road contractors)

14. 96,000 MNT for wrong-way driving

15. 96,000 MNT for road signs installed without official permission

16. 48,000 MNT for a pedestrian who breaks traffic rules under the influence of alcohol

17. 48,000 MNT for driving while fatigued

18. 19,200 MNT for not observing traffic rules inside residential areas

19. 19,200 MNT for using the opposing lane to overtake

20. 19,200 MNT for driving on pedestrian way

21. 96,000 MNT for driving a non-registered vehicle

22. 19,200 MNT for crossing on red light

23. 192,000 MNT for driving without a driver's license

24. 19,200 MNT for not giving way to emergency vehicles

Link to article


Nationwide vehicle inspection starts

August 30 ( Road Police Department and National Road and Transport Center are jointly conducting vehicle inspection on all vehicles nationwide.

The following checks and inspections are performed

  • technical examination certificate,
  • technical integrity,
  • appearance,
  • lamps,
  • accessories. 

Vehicle inspection have started yesterday and it will finish on Sep 30th.

Link to article


NEMA receives new fire engines and equipment

August 31 ( The Mongolian National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has received six fire engines worth a total of MNT 2.8 billion and 2430 stock list equipment items, which have been given as aid from the Government of China. The new fire trucks and equipment will be distributed to high fire-risk areas.

NEMA presented a forest fire fighting technique improvement project to the Government of China in 2015.

Link to article


Vatican interested in take action for development of children and vulnerable groups in Mongolia

Ulaanbaatar, August 30 (MONTSAME) Mayor of Ulaanbaatar, Mr S.Batbold received Monday the Apostolic Nuncio of Vatican to Mongolia, archbishop Osvaldo Padilla. The congratulated S.Batbold for being appointed the Governor of the Capital city and conveyed the greetings of the Pope, the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church.

"Mongolia and Vatican has long-standing ties from the ancient times. We have the historic evidences such as letters sent by the Great Khans of Mongol", he said and noted that he has brought a copy of the Guyeg Khan's letter to the Roman Pope, which was sent in 12th century.

Although Vatican is a small state, it has strong endeavours to reach out for people in need, said the nuncio and thanked the UB City administration for enabling Vatican to do so in Mongolia.

Mr Padilla expressed interest in collaborating with the city on promoting people from vulnerable groups of society, especially the disabled.

Our countries have strong historic bond, highlighted the Mayor S.Batbold and noted that the diplomatic mission of Vatican, since its establishment, has been conducting various activities toward Mongolian citizens and children's development, through its 22 subsidiary bodies in Ulaanbaatar and localities.

At the end of the meeting, the Mayor expressed his confidence that the cooperation will prosper in many other projects and said that "our doors will always be open" for Vatican.

Link to article


This is Mongolia's first native priest: Father Joseph Enkh Baatar

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Aug 30, 2016 / 04:47 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- On Sunday Mongolia witnessed the ordination of its first indigenous priest, Fr. Joseph Enkh Baatar, a 29-year-old man who represents the first fruits of 24 years of missionary work in the east Asian country.

Bishop Wenceslao Padilla, the prefect of Ulaanbaatar, ordained Joseph Enkh Baatar a priest at an Aug. 28 Mass at St. Peter and Paul Cathedral in the Mongolian capital.

"Fr. Joseph's ordination is a blessing of God and a moment of immense joy and inspiration for our young Mongolian Church," Chamingerel Ruffina, a member of the organizing committee for communications at the National Catechetical Center of Mongolia, told CNA Aug. 30.

The first modern mission to Mongolia was established in 1922 and was entrusted to the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. But under a communist government influenced by the Soviet Union, religious expression was soon thereafter suppressed.

Bishop Padilla, a member of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, was one of the first three missionaries allowed into Mongolia in 1992, after the fall of communism. He became superior of the mission in Mongolia, and was instrumental in helping to discern Fr. Baatar's vocation.

The bishop praised God for the historic moment of the apostolic prefecture's first native vocation, and prayed that many more such vocations would arise to help the local Church.

The Mass was concelebrated by Archbishop Osvaldo Padilla, apostolic nuncio to Mongolia and Korea; Bishop Lazarus You Heung-sik of Daejon, in South Korea; and more than 100 priests from South Korea and Hong Kong.

More than 1,500 persons attended the Mass, including dignitaries of foreign embassies, local Orthodox churches, and Buddhist monks. The Mass was followed by joyous festival.

Ruffina commented that "This meaningful liturgical celebration of the sacrament of priestly ordination conducted in their own indigenous language gave an opportunity to the faithful to actually witness in proximity, to celebrate, and to understand the various steps in preparation for the priesthood and the ordination rite."

The faithful of Mongolia had prepared for the event by reciting a novena to St. Paul to strengthen their missionary spirit during the Year of Mercy.

Fr. Baatar was born June 24, 1987. He lost his father at a young age, and his sister introduced him to the Catholic faith. His dream of joining the priesthood was initially postponed, due to his family's strong desire that he complete his university studies.

After graduating with a degree in biotechnology and with the support of his family, he then applied to become a seminarian for the Prefecture Apostolic of Ulaanbaatar.

Fr. Baatar entered the Daejeon seminary in South Korea, and was ordained a deacon in December 2014.

Concluding the Mass, the newly ordained priest profoundly thanked his family and his mentors at the seminary, especially Bishop You. He also praised the important role played by Bishop Padilla through his support of his vocation.

Fr. Baatar urged the faithful to pray for his priestly ministry so that he could faithfully fulfill his ordination motto, chosen from the gospel of Luke: "Deny yourself, take up your cross daily, and follow me."

"I thank the Lord who has called me to serve Him through the priesthood. I am also grateful to all the people who have helped me respond to this calling," Fr. Baatar expressed.

Bishop You reminded the new priest that "the best way of announcing the good news is a life of witnessing."

Commenting on the vast missionary work that lies ahead in Mongolia, the South Korean bishop said, "Fr. Joseph, being a Mongolian citizen, has to live as a missionary in his own country."

Ruffina also recounted that the parishioners of Saint Mary's parish gave Fr. Baatar a Bible which was handwritten by the parishioners themselves.

A young family ministry volunteer, Clara Gantesetseg, told CNA that "the ordination gift of Fr. Joseph Enkh is sign of hope to our people in Mongolia, and a special a gift during this Year of Mercy."

Clara noted that "Fr. Joseph's indigenous roots, his cultural and life experiences of his own and the people, will help to transcend the teachings of the Church to the local culture for better understanding, and also will foster interreligious dialogue."

Among the guests at the Mass was the Abbot Dambajav of Dashi Choi Lin Buddhist Monastery. He praised the efforts of the Catholic Church and encouraged Fr. Baatar to take up the responsibility of helping the Mongolian people. He also gave the new priest a blue khadag, a ceremonial scarf, as a mark of friendship.

Ruffina pointed out that the Buddhist monk's participation and his kind words of encouragement will further forge bonds of friendship and interreligious dialogue between the communities for peaceful co-existence.

A little over half Mongolia's population is Buddhist, and following the decades of communist rule, 39 percent of Mongolia's population is non-religious. Islam, shamanism, and Christianity have mere footholds among the people.

The Prefecture Apostolic of Ulaanbaatar serves all of the estimated 1,200 Catholics in the country, which has a population of 3 million. In 2014, the local Church had three diocesan priests, who were aided by 14 religious.

Link to article


Mongolia ordains its first indigenous Catholic priestCRUX, August 30

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Nature, Environment

Engaging Stakeholders in Environmental Conservation Project Presents Highlights

Ulaanbaatar, August 30 (MONTSAME) The end of August will mark the end of the second phase of the Engaging Stakeholders in Environmental Conservation Project (ESEC II). In the past three years, the project has brought together the main stakeholders in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) environmental management.

It was published on Tuesday on the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation's (SDC) website.

It has aimed to integrate best ASM environmental practices and supports the inclusion of formalized ASM contributions to local sustainable development. In order achieve this, the project introduced integrated and inclusive environmental management practices through Local Multi-stakeholder Councils (LMCs) and soum governments.

Thorough such collaboration, the project introduced several practical tools to foster cooperation between artisanal miners, local government and communities, and resolve ASM environmental challenges.

Frugal rehabilitation methodology as a unique solution

Based on the experiences and results of the 17 frugal rehabilitation demonstration (FRD) projects implemented throughout 2014-2015, ESEC II developed a frugal rehabilitation methodology (FRM) that enables ASM rehabilitation approaches that are economically affordable, socially acceptable and ecologically viable, with benefits for both ASM communities and affected stakeholders.

The FRM is now a formal attachment to the revised ASM Regulation 308, which has yet to be passed by the government. The methodology provides a comprehensive description of the rehabilitation of land degraded by ASM and includes a Monitoring Checklist to be used by artisanal miners and by local environmental inspectors during the signing off stage of rehabilitated land to be handed over to local governments.

In addition, the methodology handbook includes a template for ASM-led Rehabilitation Action Plans.

The development of the FRM is supported by a FRD Cases Studies Handbook which documents in detail the 17 FRD projects undertaken during 2014-2015, providing specific advice on the implementation of the methodology across a variety of ecological regions in Mongolia.

Local collaboration between projects, local governments, artisanal miners and stakeholders demonstrated a working model for frugal rehabilitation that can be replicated elsewhere in the future.

With frugal rehabilitation demonstrated and publicly profiled as environmental best practice, The Asia Foundation entered into 13 co-financed (matched funding) agreements with local governments at the aimag and soum levels, with formalized ASM NGOs taking the lead on frugal rehabilitation at priority sites identified by local governments.

This was seen as a crucial transition, with governments willing to finance frugal rehabilitation on abandoned ASM land beyond the life of the ESEC II Project.

Establishing soum-level Environmental Management Plans (EMPs)

With the aim of cultivating sustainable use of natural resources by engaging all relevant stakeholders at different levels, ESEC II implemented a second round of training and development on soum-level Environmental Management Plan (EMPs). At present, of the 21 project target soums, 13 have EMPs that have been approved by local Citizens' Representative Khurals.

The EMPs are innovative and collaborative community LMC-based contributions to soum environmental planning, and provide a mechanism for inclusive stakeholder mapping and land-use impact assessment in the management of a soum's natural resources.

From 2013-2016, the project has facilitated the establishment of 39 LMCs comprised of local governments, large and small-scale mining representatives, civil society and local communities. Through the LMCs, stakeholders are able to make informed decisions and work towards positive social, economic and environmental changes at the local level.

ASM Rehabilitation Action Plan (RAP) – A tool for planning responsible ASM

Through the Responsible Mining Initiative, the ASM National Federation and Era Ecology NGOs, ESEC II supported the training, development and monitoring of ASM-led Rehabilitation Action Plans (RAPs).

The RAPs are planning documents that outline how the FRM should be developed and implemented. The RAPs enable ASM communities to demonstrate their environmental responsibility, contribute to soum-level EMPs, and support the securing of operational licenses and access to new land.

The RAPs are context-specific for three types of land rehabilitation: Historically degraded and abandoned land; active mine sites; and the implementation of FR at future mine sites.

Green Jobs Development for alternative ASM employment and FR resourcing

ESEC II has provided grant support for the establishment of indigenous plant and tree nurseries as an alternative income source for artisanal miners.

The species cultivated and stored at nurseries in Bayankhongor, Gurvantes (Umnugobi aimag) and Altai (Khovd aimag) are informed by the FRM and FRD Case Studies for the biological rehabilitation of land degraded by mining.

In addition to creating green jobs, the initiative fosters greater ASM environmental responsibility and provides resources for biological land rehabilitation at both ASM and large-scale mining sites and for other activities such as road construction.

Local governments can support such initiatives to bolster local conservation efforts and the achievement of sustainable development objectives.

In 2016, ESEC II completed the development and implementation of environmental toolkits that are designed to increase ASM and local communities' capacity to better manage their natural resources.

Project's closing

The ESEC II Project has been implemented by The Asia Foundation in partnership with the Ministry of Mining and with financial support from SDC.

The project's success will enable its achievements to continue beyond the project period. To ensure sustainability, the ESEC II is delegating responsibility to government partner organizations such as Ministry of Mining, the Mineral Resources Authority of Mongolia, the General Agency for Specialized Inspection, and the Ministry of Environment, Green Development and Tourism.

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Meet the original migrants of Central Asia

August 30 (DW) Central Asia is home to the world's largest unbroken grasslands - and a host of mammals that like to keep moving. But with many of these charasmatic creatures threatened, calls are growing for cross-border conservation.

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United World Wrestling bans Mongolian wrestlers from international tournaments

August 29 (UB Post) United World Wrestling has banned Mongolian wrestlers from international tournaments because of recent controversy surrounding State Honored Athlete G.Mandakhnaran bronze medal match at the Summer Olympics.

President of the Mongolian Wrestling Federation D.Dagvadorj announced the United World Wrestling decision on Twitter.

"United World Wrestling has banned Mongolian freestyle wrestling athletes' right to compete in the international tournaments on its calendar.

The duration of the ban is indefinite," D.Dagvadorj tweeted.

United World Wrestling hasn't made an official statement on the Mongolian ban.

Mongolian coaches Ts.Tsogtbayar and B.Bayaraa stripped off their clothes in protest after G.Mandakhnaran's loss in the men's 65 kg. Coach B.Bayaraa said, "United World Wrestling is corrupt. All Mongolians were watching the bout. We won a bronze medal. We did it."

United World Wrestling condemned the two coaches for what they did, and believes that their naked protest is unacceptable.

Link to article


Two Mongolian coaches banned for two, August 30


North and South Korea to compete in Ulaanbaatar

August 31 ( The second "Chinggis Khaan Basketball Cup" competition will take place from 7th to 11th of September in Ulaanbaatar. Last year the cup was won by the Mongolian national basketball team. The event is coordinated by the Mongolian Basketball Federation's (MBF).

National teams from the Russian Republic of Buryatia, North Korea, and Korean Basketball League (KBL) as well as Hohhot University will participate in the competition. The Mongolian teams include the first and second top national teams and the top youth teams.

This will be the first time North and South Korean teams will compete in Ulaanbaatar. The North Korean team has been training in Beijing and will arrive in Ulaanbaatar on 6th September.

The "Chinggis Khaan Basketball Cup" will take place at the Central Sport Palace and price of tickets is MNT5000.

Link to article


"Chinggis Khaan Cup 2016" int'l basketball competition to be heldMontsame, August 31


Eight Mongolian athletes to participate in Rio Paralympics

August 31 ( The XV Summer Paralympic Games are a major upcoming international multi-sport event for athletes with disabilities governed by the International Paralympic Committee, to be held from 7th September to 18th September 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. Athletes from 173 countries will compete for total of 528 medals in 23 sports categories. Eight Mongolian athletes will participate in the Rio-Paralympics and will fly to Brazil this week. They are:

  • Archery - State Honoured Sportsmen and champions of the 2008 "Beijing Para Olympics" D.Baatarjav, B.Oyun-Erdene and A.Ankhbayar
  • Judo – A.Munkhbat and B.Uugankhuu
  • Shooting – Z.Ganbaatar
  • Track and field athletics – G.Tsogtgerel
  • Powerlifting- E.Sodnompiljee

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Tokitenku accepts sumo retirement due to cancer battle

August 29 (Kyodo) Longtime maegashira Tokitenku said Monday that balancing cancer treatments and sumo wrestling proved to be too difficult.

Three days after the Japan Sumo Association announced that the 36-year-old Mongolian-born wrestler had been accepted as a sumo elder, a tearful Tokitenku talked about his decision and his career.

"The treatment dragged on and it was difficult to regain the fitness needed to engage in sumo. The only thing I could do was to accept the situation," he told a press conference on Monday.

Tokitenku, who has been dealing with malignant lymphoma, competed in 63 grand sumo tournaments and occupied sumo's fourth-highest rank of komusubi for three tourneys during his 13-year career. Yet, the match that sticks in his mind took place for the championship in the fourth-tier sandanme division in January 2003.

"I remember like yesterday the bout against Toyonoshima from the same stable in the playoff for sandanme," Tokitenku said.

"As a human being, sumo made me what I am."

Tokitenku's illness was diagnosed last autumn and he missed the last five bashos before calling it a career. Now that his treatment by drugs and radiation has slackened, he will do what he can for the sumo association.

Stablemaster Tokitsukaze said, "I believe the treatments were really tough, but he did well."

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Cash prize awarded to Olympic medal winners

August 31 (MONTSAME) A ceremony took place on Tuesday in the State House to grant cash prize certificates to medalists of the Rio-de-Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games and their coaches.

Prime Minister Mr J.Erdenebat handed over the certificates to Ms D.Sumiya, an Olympic silver medalist in judo, Mr D.Otgondalai, an Olympic bronze medalist in boxing; Mr O.Baljinnyam, chief coach of the national judo team of Mongolia and Mr D.Batsuren, a chief coach of the national boxing team.

In accordance with a governmental resolution, an Olympic silver medalist will receive a cash prize of 60 million tugrics, a bronze medalist--MNT 30 million while their coaches will receive cash equivalent to half of their athletes' prizes.

During the ceremony, Prime Minister  has congratulated the two athletes on winning the Olympic medals on behalf of himself and the government. He wished Mongolian athletes more success at the next Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Link to article


Three men drive in 23-year-old hatchback from Brighton to Mongolia

August 30 (The Argus) THREE intrepid friends have embarked on an epic 10,000 mile road trip with a difference.

University of Sussex pals Chris Hutchinson, Iain Broadley and Zac Hay are driving from Brighton to Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, to raise money for charity.

And what's more, the trio are attempting the famed Mongol Rally in a vehicle voted the worst ever made by Top Gear.

They have made good progress in their 1993 Austin Maestro having travelled through 19 countries and across mountains and deserts.

Now in Oglii, western Mongolia, they hope to reach their endpoint of Ulaanbaatar within the coming days.

They are raising money for Cool Earth, a charity which helps indigenous communities protect their rainforest and The Hummingbird Project, a Brighton based group supporting child refugees in camps in Calais.

Iain said: "We have all seen the news stories of the horrendous conditions in the camps, for this reason we have decided that there could be no better cause to support."

Chris added: "We've crossed the vast expanse of Kazakhstan, beaten deserts, plagues of locusts and giant pot holes. We are within one days distance of the finish line - do we dare to dream?"

To sponsor the trio visit:

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Art, Entertainment

Zveri to donate of concert income to Mazaalai conservation

Ulaanbaatar, August 30 (MONTSAME) Given the name "Zveri", meaning predators or wild animals in Russian, the famous pop-rock band is planning to donate about half of the income from the concert to conservation of Mazaalai, the Gobi bears, say the concert organizers. The Russian band is staging the concert in Ulaanbaatar on September 2.

In the margin on the 95th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Mongolia and Russia, the concert is being hosted by the Russian Center for Science and Culture, the UB City Department for Arts and Culture, Department for Tourism and Friendly Ulaanbaatar Program. The main organizers are "Shamk" Entertainment Agency and AIST Mongolia TV channel.

The technical settings are the largest ever in Mongolia with 220 built-up speakers, inform the organizers.

From Mongolia, popular artists, namely, Lumino, A Sound, Gee and Rec On, as well as the deejays – Anna, BTB, Agvaan and Batbold, to throw a disco show after the concert.

Zveri is has a large number of fans in Mongolia, and is privileged to dedicate a concert on the occasion of the 95th jubilee of Mongolia-Russia diplomatic ties.

There are only 27 Mazaalai, the Gobi bears, left on earth. However, they are not getting the attention as much as Pandas do, which have population of two thousand.

Half of the concert income is to be donated to a Mazaalia conservation NGO, to improve the protection of endangered species and the operations of the organization.

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