Thursday, October 6, 2016

[MNT gains for 2nd day; GoM issues ₮75B t-bills; BMI forecasts 3% growth; satellite launch in 2017; and Mongolia's Next Top Model arrives]

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Thursday, October 6, 2016

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Int'l Market

TRQ closed flat Wednesday at US$2.96

Rio Tinto board visits Mongolia

October 5 (Mongolian Economy) Prime Minister J.Erdenebat received top-level executives of Rio Tinto in Mongolia.

CEO Jean-Sebastien Jacques, in his and his team's first visit to Mongolia, opened the meeting by reaffirming his confidence in investment and long term mining prospects.

OT recently hired 2,000 employees as part of plans to get to work on the recently green-lighted underground mine, and plans to hire more as work progresses, which should take approximately five more years.

The company is also focusing on the improvement of Mongolian workers' skills and preparation of specialists in order to compete internationally, said Jean-Sebastien Jacques.

Prime Minister J.Erdenebat also reaffirmed his newly-elected government's commitment to moving and implementing major projects, emphasizing OT's importance to Mongolia.

In addition, the prime minister hinted as his wish for OT to purchase domestically produced products in order to support the local economy, which Jacques supported.

The importance of the stability of the OT agreement cannot be understated. Operations must be clear, open, transparent and accountable to the people, added the PM.

Source: Government Media and Public Relations Division

Link to article


Premier welcomes Rio Tinto and OT LeadersMontsame, October 5


WOF jumped 55.56% Wednesday to A$0.028, trading +7.1% Thursday

Wolf Petroleum Responds to ASX Query on Price Increase

October 5 -- We refer to the price query issued by the Australian Securities Exchange on Wednesday 5 October 2016 and comment as follows:

1.    Wolf Petroleum Limited ('the Company') is not aware of any information that has not been announced that would explain the trading in the securities of the Company.

2.    Not applicable.

3.    No.

4.    The Company confirms that in its opinion it is, and has been at all times, in compliance with Listing Rule 3.1.

Link to release


TER trading -6.1% Thursday at A$0.031

TerraCom: Another Milestone - FIRB Approval of Blair Athol Mine Acquisition

October 6 -- TerraCom Limited (TerraCom or the Company) (ASX: TER) is pleased to announce that it has received Australian Government - Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval for the acquisition of the Blair Athol Coal Mine by its wholly owned subsidiary Orion Mining Pty Ltd. Whilst TerraCom is a proud Australian Company it has a share register that consists of a majority of non-Australian investors.

This FIRB approval is yet another important milestone in the acquisition of the Blair Athol Coal Mine adding to the recently secured US$12m in new funding to support the plans for commissioning of the Blair Athol Coal Mine to deliver first coal sales in December 2016.


Link to release


TerraCom: Focus on Cashflow & Growth - Investor Roadshow Presentation, October 2016

October 6 --

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Local Market

MSE Trading Report: Top 20 +0.88%, ALL +0.53%, Turnover 18.8 Million Shares

October 5 (MSE) --

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Jargalant Uils JSC Changes Name to Nogoon Hugjil Undesnii Negdel JSC

October 6 (MSE) Pursuant to the Clause No.: 8-8.10.11 of Charter of Mongolian Stock Exchange, the Clause No.: 20.3 of "Listing Rule" of MSE, investigation report on listing request from "Jargalant Uils" JSC dated on 21 July 2016, and the Order No.: 369 of CEO of MSE dated on 04 October 2016, the nominal name of "Jargalant Uils" JSC changed to "Nogoon Hugjil Undesnii Negdel" JSC.

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Historic highs: USD=₮2,290.03 (2016.10.03). EUR=₮2,571.70 (2016.10.03), JPY=₮22.68 (2016.08.18), GBP=₮3,183.26 (2014.08.13), RUB=₮54.32 (2014.06.27), CNY=₮343.25 (2016.10.03), KRW=₮2.08 (2016.09.29), SGD=₮1,689.56 (2016.08.18), CAD=₮1,769.07 (2016.08.19), AUD=₮1,765.65 (2014.08.14), HKD=₮295.28 (2016.10.03), CHF=₮2,369.87 (2016.08.19). Reds are rates that set a new record low at the time.

BoM MNT Rates: Tuesday, October 4 Close
















































































































































































































Bank USD rates at time of sending: Khan (Buy ₮2,263 Sell ₮2,280), TDB (Buy ₮2,265 Sell ₮2,280), Golomt (Buy ₮2,265 Sell ₮2,280), XacBank (Buy ₮2,265 Sell ₮2,282), State Bank (Buy ₮2,263 Sell ₮2,280)

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

Link to rates


BoM issues ₮177 billion 1-week bills, total outstanding +8.1% to ₮508.05 billion

October 5 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 177 billion at a weighted interest rate of 15.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release


GoM Sells 40 Billion 28-Week T-Bills at 16.865% Discount with 60 Billion Bids via BoM

October 5 (Bank of Mongolia) Auction for 28 weeks maturity Government Bond was announced at face value of 40.0 billion MNT. Face value of 40.0 billion /out of 60.0 billion bid/ Government Bond was sold at discounted price and with weighted average yield of 16.865 %

Link to release


GoM Sells 30 Billion 39-Week T-Bills at 16.943% Discount with 45 Billion Bids via BoM

October 5 (Bank of Mongolia) Auction for 39 weeks maturity Government Bond was announced at face value of 30.0 billion MNT. Face value of 30.0 billion /out of 45.0 billion bid/ Government Bond was sold at discounted price and with weighted average yield of 16.943 %.

Link to release


GoM Sells 5 Billion 52-Week T-Bills at 16.99% Discount with 7.5 Billion Bids via BoM

October 5 (Bank of Mongolia) Auction for 52 weeks maturity Government Bond was announced at face value of 5.0 billion MNT. Face value of 5.0 billion /out of 7.5 billion bid/ Government Bond was sold at discounted price and with weighted average yield of 16.990 %.

Link to release


World Bank paints stark picture of Mongolian economy

October 5 ( The World Bank has forecast that Mongolian economic growth in 2016 will be just 0.1%. This is slightly below the recent Asian Development Bank (ADB) forecast of 0.3%. International analysts explain the sluggish forecast as a reflection of the fall in the export of raw materials and weak debt control. In 2015 Mongolian economic growth stood at 2.3%.

The World Bank warns that Mongolia is at risk of 'debt distress' because of its mounting external debts, declining foreign investment, diminished mining revenues and looming debt repayments. The Mongolian Government will begin debt repayments in 2017. The current balance of payment deficit has increased following the fall in foreign currency reserves. Therefore, as international analysts have suggested, Mongolia needs to implement robust and secure regulation as well as provide budgetary and macro-economic stability. The slowdown in the Mongolian economy has been compounded by poor decisions on budgetary and monetary policy resulting in macro-economic negatively; in addition the Mongolian Central Bank has financed expenses beyond budget, government debts and the rate of the Tugrik.

Link to article


BMI Research: Mongolia Country Risk Report, October 2016


Turning Positive On Growth Outlook

Core Views

·         The landslide victory by the Mongolian People's Party (MPP) in the June 29 parliamentary elections will usher in a period of relative political stability and improved policy co-ordination over the coming years.

·         Mongolia's real GDP growth is stabilising, and appears to be turning the corner. Therefore, we are upgrading our 2016 real GDP growth to 3.0% (from 1.5% previously), and maintaining our 2017 forecast of 4.2%. Investment in the land-locked nation will recover amid improved policy-making under the MPP-led government and the start of the second phase construction of the Oyu Tolgoi (OT) underground copper and gold mine in H216. However, the landlocked economy will continue to face headwinds due to a cooling Chinese economy, which will prevent the Mongolian economy from growing at a faster pace.

·         We are cautious on the Mongolian togrog against the US dollar, and maintain our forecast for the unit to average MNT2,044/USD in 2016 and MNT2,088/USD in 2017. The currency's valuations are elevated, and the togrog is still vulnerable to shocks owing to its high level of external indebtedness and the central bank's weak external liquidity position.

·         We are paring back our dovish expectations due to the lack of easing bias by the Bank of Mongolia (BoM) at its July monetary policy meeting where it held its benchmark policy rate steady at 10.50% and signs of currency weakness. We are now forecasting the central bank to cut interest rates by 50bps to 10.00% by end-2016 (versus 75bps previously). A muted inflationary environment should provide sufficient policy space for the central bank to attempt to provide continued support to the economy.

·         Mongolia will continue to run fiscal deficits in the coming years as structurally low commodity prices temper revenue growth while public expenditure growth remains elevated amid insufficient expenditure cutbacks due to the government's poor fiscal discipline. The country is increasingly at risk of a credit event as Mongolia and its state-linked entities are facing significant bond repayments beginning from 2017, and it is highly likely that the Mongolian government would have to refinance at significantly higher yields, if it were to be successful at it.

Major Forecast Changes

·         We have upgraded our 2016 real GDP growth forecast to 3.0% (from 1.5% previously) as the country's real GDP growth appears to be stabilising and turning the corner. We expect investment to recover as the second phase development of the OT mine begins in H216 and improved policy certainty.

·         We have revised our forecast for the reported fiscal deficit as a share of GDP to 8.0% in 2016 and 7.8% in 2017 (versus 6.7% for both years previously) to reflect the sharp deterioration in Mongolia's fiscal deficit in H116.

·         We have pared back our dovish expectations, and now forecasting the BoM to cut its 1-week central bank bill rate by 50bps to 10.00% by the end of 2016 (versus 75bps previously). At the same time, we also downgraded our average 2016 headline consumer price inflation (CPI) forecast to 2.5% y-o-y as price pressures have remained muted so far in 2016. However, inflation will remain substantially lower than the central bank's target of 7.0% y-o-y in 2016, implying that there is still room for the central bank to ease interest rates further.

Key Risks

·         Upside Risk: An early ramp up of the second phase expansion at the OT project would help galvanise investment activity.

·         Downside Risk: In a worst-case scenario, a significant slowdown in Chinese economic growth and, by extension, demand for commodity imports would seriously hamper Mongolia's growth prospects. Any deterioration in the country's business environment due to delays in other major mining projects could weaken investor confidence, which could force the BoM to hike rates unexpectedly (to the detriment of the banking sector), in order to shore up the currency.

Macroeconomic Forecasts (Mongolia 2014-2017)






Real GDP growth, % y-o-y





Nominal GDP, USDbn





Consumer price inflation, % y-o-y, eop





Exchange rate MNT/USD, eop





Budget balance, % of GDP





Current account balance, % of GDP





f= BMI forecast. Source: BMI, National Sources

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Politics & Legal

President to meet with Mongolian journalists on Thursday

October 5 ( On Thursday 6th October President Ts.Elbegdorj will hold a meeting with journalists. The meeting organised by the Federal Union of Mongolian Journalists is a regular event, taking place twice a year. At the meeting journalists will discuss with Mr Elbegdorj, now in his final year as Mongolian President, questions related to current affairs.

In 1980-s, Ts.Elbegdorj worked as a young journalist for the army newspaper 'Ulaan Od' (Red Star). He graduated from the Lviv Land Forces Military Academy in 1988 with a bachelor's degree in military journalism. Lviv, located in the west Ukraine, has always been a centre of progressive thought and political independence. Young Ts.Elbegdorj was to go on to be on one of the leaders in the bloodless revolution which created the new Mongolia.

Link to article


President to have no-tie meeting with journalistsMontsame, October 5


Passport issuance restarts after 3-month delay

October 5 (UB Post) The Mongolian National Registration and Statistics Office (MNRSO) began to issuing passports after three months of delay.

The MNRSO said that the number of passport issuance increased by 70,000 in the last two years. The office said that Finance Ministry didn't provide funding to passport suppliers as the government did not have funding for printing additional passports.

Germany-based Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) prints Mongolia's banknotes and passports.

The Intellectual Property of Mongolia and MNRSO reported that express orders for passports will be delivered in two days, while regular orders will take five to seven work days.

According to the MNRSO, 120,000 people apply for new passports per year an average. But in the first seven months of this year, 122,000 people ordered new passports.

The government finance for the issuance of new passports was reportedly not enough to meet demand. As a result, passports were not issued for three months, which resulted many public complaints, explained a spokesperson for the Intellectual Property of Mongolia and MNRSO.

Link to article


Mongolia's deputy finance minister adjusts to life in the fast lane

By Stefania Palma 

Mongolia's recently elected deputy finance minister, Khurelbaatar Bulgantuya, tells Stefania Palma how the country will finance a $2bn budget deficit before the end of the year.

October 3 (The Banker) Khurelbaatar Bulgantuya is short of time. The Mongolian deputy finance minister's phone rings repeatedly during our meeting and her glance often lands on the clock above the office door. She will soon be off to parliament to debate amendments to the country's 2016 budget. The new government needs to find a way to fill the $2bn hole in its books before the end of the year. What is more, the state does not even have sufficient funds to pay all debt principals and interest payments for the next two years.

The Mongolian People's Party (MPP) won elections with a landslide victory in June, replacing a coalition government led by the Democratic Party. Since then, the MPP has scrambled to put government accounts in order.

Tough baptism

Mongolia's budget deficit for the first six months of 2016 was 8.1% of gross domestic product (GDP) – but once the MPP took off-budget spending into account, the deficit shot up to 20.6% of GDP overnight. In mid-September, parliament approved the amended 2016 budget with a consolidated deficit of 18%.

Between January and June alone, the state spent Tg700bn ($312m) to 800bn off-budget in social programmes. "In the past four years, we became a country that liked to spend a lot," says Ms Bulgantuya. During this time, budgets were approved with about Tg1000bn in losses being rolled over every year. Worse still, Mongolia had four different unconsolidated budgets up until 2015.

Overborrowing is another part of the problem. Just in March 2016, Mongolia priced a $500m Chinggis bond with a hefty 10.875% coupon despite deteriorating growth and swelling government debt, now at 90% of GDP. "The government was too hasty. It did not have projects lined up and it invested [the bonds' proceeds] in projects, such as roads, that generate returns five years down the line. These were almost social projects," says Ms Bulgantuya.

Now Mongolia needs to find a way to finance its Tg4400bn deficit before the end of 2016 and to service government debt in the next two years. The MPP has proposed austerity measures, including eight tax hikes and pay cuts for senior state officials, to raise government revenue. In September, the MPP caucus shot down these proposals, but the government will try to introduce progressive taxation again in 2017, according to Ms Bulgantuya. In response to critics, she says only a small proportion of the taxpayer base would be affected as the proposed 25% income tax would affect only 1.6% of the workforce and the proposed 0.3% real estate tax would apply to only 2.6% of all Mongolian apartments.

External help

With tax hikes not currently on the table, Mongolia needs external help to finance the 2016 deficit. Ms Bulgantuya says: "We have a $540m [Development Bank of Mongolia] bond maturing in March 2017. We need to act swiftly. We have had meetings with the International Monetary Fund but parliament still needs to decide if we'll go for this type of programme or not." 

The country is also considering other parties, including China. But official talks have not taken place and no Mongolian official has paid an official visit to China yet, according to Ms Bulgantuya. 

What is more, she is keen to continue talks the previous government had started with India, which signed an agreement to finance a $1bn infrastructure project, and with Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). "The government may have changed, but our position [with the AIIB and India] is the same," she says.

2017 and beyond

After dealing with the 2016 deficit, one of Ms Bulgantuya's priorities will be to attract foreign investors back to Mongolia. Having a coalition government of five different parties slowed down mining projects such as Tavan Tolgoi (TT) and Oyu Tolgoi (OT), which built distrust among international investors, according to Ms Bulgantuya.

"The government was unable to get parliament's approval on these projects. For the OT agreement, there was friction from local communities every step of the way. Now, people realise this is an engine of growth," she says. The OT gold and copper mine has now reopened but TT remains one of the world's largest untapped coking and thermal coal deposits.

Now, the MPP has 65 out of 76 seats in parliament, the cabinet comprises a single party and the MPP won elections in 20 out of 21 Mongolian provinces. "This is one thing that was lacking in the past four years. If a plan is in place, it can now be implemented all the way through," says Ms Bulgantuya.

Time is up – our meeting has run over. Outside the office, three people are waiting expectantly for the busy minister.

Link to article


De Facto: The cheaper it is, the higher the cost

By Jargal "De Facto" Dambadarjaa

October 5 ( Mongolia has a de jure standard of right-hand traffic. In other words, regardless of whether there is a road or not, two vehicles traveling in opposite directions will pass each other on the left. All regulations and infrastructure related to Mongolia's traffic have been designed for vehicles to have the steering wheel on the left.

Mongolia has a de jure standard of right-hand traffic. In other words, regardless of whether there is a road or not, two vehicles traveling in opposite directions will pass each other on the left. All regulations and infrastructure related to Mongolia's traffic have been designed for vehicles to have the steering wheel on the left.

However, 54 percent of 440,000 vehicles in Mongolia in 2015 had steering wheels on the right-hand side. In the same year, a total of 37,000 vehicles were imported by Mongolia, and 34,000 of them were produced in Japan with right-hand steering wheels. If we look at their value, these exports were worth 210 million USD, meaning 180 million USD was spent on Japanese-made cars.

The Japan-Mongolia Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) has waived import taxes for vehicles that are at least three-years-old, as well as brand new cars, and reduced taxes on cars older than three years. This policy is going to entail a further increase in the number of cars with a steering wheel on the right. Japan bans the use of vehicles more than 10-years-old, and there is a strong interest in selling off seven to eight-year-old cars. According to information from Mongolian Customs General Administration, total exports from Mongolia to Japan from 2011-2015 were worth 72 million USD, while exports from Japan to Mongolia were worth 2 billion USD. Approximately 1.3 billion USD of the exports from Japan to Mongolia were vehicles, 66 percent of which were Prii, the official plural term for the Toyota Prius.


Traffic can be made safer, faster, and less congested when the movement of vehicles is suited for a steering wheel on the right or on the left.

According to data from the Traffic Police, 2014 saw a total of 11,630 accidents, 59 of which involved vehicles that were not aligned with regulations by having a right-hand steering wheel. If we look at 2015, there were 41,064 accidents, 64.4 percent of which involved vehicles with steering wheels on the wrong (right) side. It can also be seen that traffic accidents increased by almost 400 percent within one year. 

In order to overtake another car, the driver of a vehicle with a right-hand steering wheel has to move fully to the left for the road ahead to be seen. Besides speeding, this is one of the causes of many traffic accidents. Multiple-year data shows us that when roads improve – especially in Ulaanbaatar, there are increasingly more traffic accidents.

Mongolia paved 6,351 kilometers of roads from 2012-2015, and is planning to pave another 5,700 kilometers in 2016-2021. Countryside roads are usually two-way, and have no lines separating lanes. Drivers pass each other at high speeds and without visual aids to distinguish between lanes. Also, many accidents are triggered by drivers taking sudden turns to avoid potholes.

Furthermore, traffic slows down overall because drivers spend too much time trying to get their hands out of the front passenger-side window, as many locations have toll stations on the left side. In many cases, drivers have to get out of their vehicle to pay their toll, or receive a parking ticket. The rule of the left lane being for cars driving at higher speeds no longer applies, because most vehicles now have a steering wheel on the right. In other words, we no longer have passing lanes for roads that have enough lanes to allow for them. Regardless of the number of lanes on a road, we do not have differences in vehicle speed anymore. Drivers are too aggressive, and if you demand that they move to the right, you might end up verbally – or even physically – attacked.

Many drivers on countryside roads do not change between high and low beam headlights, which forces drivers in oncoming traffic to use their senses rather than eyesight. Vehicles with the steering wheel on the right are adjusted in a way that their high beams are directed to the left side of the road. So, when these cars are driven on a right-hand road, their high beam headlights are directed at the left-hand side of the road,  making it harder for the driver coming from the opposite direction to see the road. This is why special tape is put on the headlights of vehicles that are driven on both British and French roads, because they have different standards. If those adaptors are not there, drivers are subject to fines wherever they go.


The difference between right and left-hand rules originates from the Middle Ages. As settlements developed, people started using the same roads. While most people were right-handed, they used to carry their swords on their left side, so that they were ready to grab their sword with their right hand. This is where the left-hand rule comes from. By the 1700s, farming developed intensively in America and France, which led to horse-drawn carriages carrying food between towns and cities. People mounted horses on the left to see their left side more clearly and to be able to whip the horse on the right. This started the right-hand traffic standard.

History tells us that every country has selected either the right or left-hand side rule to ensure greater traffic safety. It led to regulations prohibiting the import of vehicles that were made to different standards. By the 1990s, almost 80 percent of Cambodia's vehicles had the steering wheel on the wrong side. However, when the new century arrived, a plan was put in place to ensure that steering wheels would be on the right side. Our northern neighbor, Russia, also started modifying Japanese-made cars to adhere to their traffic rules.

During the time of Prime Minister S.Batbold, Mongolia ratified a national strategy to ensure traffic safety in 2012. This strategy laid out that the percentage of vehicles with left-hand steering wheels had to be raised to 75 percent by 2015, up  from the baseline of 54 percent, and to 95 percent by 2020. Unfortunately, as they say Mongolian laws only last for three days, no one provided oversight on the implementation of this strategy, and vehicles with left-hand steering wheels are dominating the pool. This should fall under the responsibilities of the Ministry of Roads and Transportation. However, given that Mongolian ministries always change their structures and names, many streams of work are simply forsaken without any responsible owners.

What would be the most effective thing to do? If we pass a law saying that all vehicles must  have left-hand steering columns by 2020 and that importing cars that don't meet standards will be banned, how many lives could we save, and how will traffic flow improve? If we follow current import trends and legalize only vehicles with right-hand steering, we would end up having completely opposite standards from our two neighboring countries. If that happened, it would make the efforts to make Mongolia a transit corridor go to waste, and have counter-effective outcomes. One has to wonder whether the authorities are contemplating this issue.

What roadblocks does the government face before they can pass a law to follow the right-hand driving standards? How many lives have to be lost before this is done?

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Early snow hits Mongolian harvest

October 5 ( According to reports just published, Mongolia is expected to lose 40% of its crops. Currently, farmers have harvested 324 thousand tonnes of cereal crops, 126 thousand tonnes of potatoes and 72 thousand tonnes of other vegetables. The Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry has reported that, Mongolia has harvested 60% of cereal crops, 82% of potatoes and 72% vegetables.

In terms of 'brining in' the crops, harvesting is going well in Bulgan, Tuv and Selenge provinces, but is getting sluggish in some other regions - in particular, the western and eastern provinces.

In Khentii province, snow fall this week affected harvesting and damaged some crops. Farmers had been harvesting for 12 days. According to the National Agency of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Monitoring, snow is predicted until 8th of October.

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Mongolia to launch its first satellite in 2017

October 5 (UB Post) Mongolia will be launching a satellite into space in spring 2017, with help from UNESCO and the Japanese government, the Mongolian Press Institute reported on October 4.

The Joint Global Multi Nation BIRDS (JGMNB) project is a cross-border interdisciplinary spectral and infrared remote detection (BIRD) satellite project for non-space faring countries supported by Japan. Ghana, Mongolia, Nigeria, and Bangladesh are some of the seven countries participating in the JGMNB project.

Fifteen students from the Graduate School of Engineering at the Kyushu Institute of Technology and those enrolled in master or doctoral degree programs in an international space engineering course are executing the project with support from four faculty members. The project's organizers believe the JGMNB project provides great leverage for students from developing nations with hands-on experience. The participating students represent six of the seven JGMNB nations.

The project requires funding of 225,000 USD. Mongolian National University is funded 50,000 USD and the remaining funding is being provided by the government.

The satellite will be used by researchers to monitor desertification and to collect data on plant yield and soil moisture. It will also be used to report real-time to herders and farmers. After the launch of the first satellite in 2017, Mongolian scientists are planning to launch a second satellite by 2020.

Link to article


Mongolia's first satellite "Mazaalai" to be launched in 2017Montsame, October 5


New Business Center Supports Women Entrepreneurs in Mongolia

September 21 (The Asia Foundation) At first glance, Mongolia appears to be a shining star globally in the realm of women's empowerment, and in many ways, it is. For example, according to the UN's Gender Development Index (GDI), women in Mongolia have a longer life expectancy than men (70.2 compared to 63.1), and outnumber men in school attendance across all ages. Women can be seen in high numbers in various professional sectors including the medical field, as well as in management roles in the government. However, if you scratch beneath the surface, the inequality that exists becomes more evident.

Although women are present in the economic, political, and social landscapes of Mongolia on some levels, one look at high-level political representation shows that women are not in the driver's seat of decision-making. On the economic front, while women's economic participation is high, women workers are concentrated in a narrow set of occupations including retail, catering, and teaching, rather than higher-paying sectors such as mining, transportation, and energy, where prospects for advancement are greater. Women also take on the most significant burden of household work and compromise a large segment of the informal economy.

Findings from The Asia Foundation's recent internal project analysis, which surveyed 150 new and current women entrepreneurs in addition to government officials, bankers, and NGO representatives, reiterated the variety of challenges women face in starting and growing their businesses. The survey identified limited access to capital and insufficient collateral as the biggest hurdle in obtaining a loan. Interaction with government is also a challenge with complicated bureaucracy, poor service, and lack of policy-level support mentioned as key challenges. Women also said that they lacked the networking opportunities enjoyed by their male peers and instead of accessing professional services tended to turn to family members for business guidance.

Not only do such restraints keep women from reaching their own potential, the country's economy—hit hard by the global commodities slump and now in a state of crisis—is being held back from reaching its potential, too. Bringing women into the formal sector is a critical part of diversifying its income portfolio to buffer the volatile commodities market, as they are well educated and play a significant role in the participation of socio-economic and political activities. By supporting business development and addressing key constraints facing women entrepreneurs, Mongolia has an opportunity to unlock women's active and full participation, build a more stable economy, and increase job creation.

The Asia Foundation, with support from the Korean government (KOICA), and working alongside the Municipality of Ulaanbaatar, local NGOs, and government partners, recently opened a new women's business center in the capital.

The center fills a critical demand from female entrepreneurs for specialized support services such as mentoring and training and is designed to fill a niche market by complementing a training schedule with low-cost consulting services and a co-working space that provides facilities such as computers, printers, high-speed Wi-Fi, sound absorbent meeting rooms, a kitchen, and a children's play area. During the training days at the center, we are helping to nurture our client's entrepreneurial mindset, by teaching them to think outside of the box and see problems as opportunities.

In the first two months of operation, a total of 721 services were provided. One client who owns a small business that sells baked goods said the center was "inclusive, modern, and essential" while another expressed that before coming to the center, "I couldn't outgrow my problems but the training has given me new ideas and helped me to work more productively. Now my business is improving." Another client who runs a company specializing in handicrafts explained that before attending the center, she designed her products without listening to her customers. After participating in a training day at the center, she understood that the customer's needs are crucial to improve product design. During the training, she said she met many new women entrepreneurs and gained three more business partners.

As Mongolia develops, many gender disparities remain. The continuation of corrective programs that empower women will yield considerable development payoffs and improve development outcomes for the next generation. The center provides a critical first step—the next step is for the city of Ulaanbaatar to take the concept forward and use the model to provide services for women outside of the capital city. By advocating for the city to focus more on women's economic participation in the economy, the project helps to set a direct path toward inclusive economic growth, poverty eradication, and gender equality in Mongolia.

Diana Fernandez is The Asia Foundation's deputy country representative in Mongolia, Enkhjin Bayarkhuu is a project manager, and Ashleigh Griffiths is a project officer there. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the individual authors and not those of The Asia Foundation or its funders. 

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Newmont Mining names former OT CEO as new chief of North American operations

October 5 (Denver Business Journal) Veteran mining executive Andrew Woodley has been named to oversee Newmont Mining Corp.'s North American business starting Jan. 2.

Woodley will succeed Tom Kerr, who has retired after 32 years with the Greenwood Village-based global gold-mining company (NYSE: NEM), Newmont announced Wednesday.

Newmont has surface and underground mines in Nevada and Colorado. The company says the North American region accounts for nearly one-third of its global production and 44 percent of its gold reserves.

Woodley previously ran the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mining operations in Mongolia for Rio Tinto Ltd. (ASX: RIO) and before that was a mining executive in Mozambique, Australia and elsewhere.

"Andrew is an accomplished operations and business leader with more than 20 years' experience driving improvements in safety, productivity and sustainability," said Tom Palmer, Newmont's executive vice president and COO, in Wednesday's announcement.

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Major intersections in UB to allow right turns on red lights

October 5 (UB Post) Ulaanbaatar Traffic Police Department is set to test a new traffic rule which will allow drivers to turn right on red light on October 10.

The traffic police will test the new rule at the busiest intersections in Ulaanbaatar, which are the Western and Eastern central intersections, Sapporo intersection and the intersection in front of Geser Monastery.

According to the traffic police, drivers will be able to turn right at the above-mentioned intersections on red light. According to a survey by the traffic police, 95 percent of drivers supported the new rule. The traffic police said that if the new rule is proven effective in decreasing traffic congestion, it will be permanently adopted throughout the capital.

Drivers favor the new rule as they do not have to wait for the traffic light to turn green to make a right turn.

According to a study by the Traffic Police Department, allowing drivers to turn right at crossroads on red light reduces traffic load by 20 percent. Ulaanbaatar has 142 intersections.

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"Sporty Ulaanbaatar" public event will be held on Oct 8

October 5 ( "Sporty Ulaanbaatar" public event, dedicated to the 377th anniversary of capital city will be held on Oct 8 with the aim to involve residents in sport activities and to create new generation with physical and mental endurance to overcome any barriers by training in sports and making healthy lifestyle. 

On this day, 5 km, 10 km, 21 km and 42 km marathons will be organized at National Amusement Park while more than ten types of sport activities will be held at Sukhbaatar square. 
Same tents are to be built at Sukhbaatar square while districts, sport federations and fitness clubs will decorate the tents with their own address and flags to promote their activities and operations.

Moreover, following sport activities have planned to be organized at the "Sporty-Ulaanbaatar" event:

  • Football,
  • Basketball,
  • Tug of war, 
  • Soft tennis, 
  • Table tennis, 
  • Ankle-bone traditional games, 
  • Chess.

Registration fee for the marathon will be funded to the establishment of new international school. Both foreign and domestic residents, students and staffs of capital city, districts, local governors and entities are able to attend the marathon. 

The marathon will start at 8:30 AM on Oct 8 at National Amusement Park. 

  • Full marathon (42 km): For more than 18-years-old professional athletes and adult amateurs.
  • Half marathon (21 km): For more than 18-years-old professional athletes and adult amateurs.
  • Adult marathon (10 km): For more than 18-years-old both men and women amateurs.
  • Junior marathon (5 km): For students. 

Runners who finish in 1-3rd places in any category will be rewarded with medals, certificate and cash prize. Moreover, runners rank 4-10th place in any category will receive cash prize. 

Registration deadline is Oct 6. Entrants may register at

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Sports Day in, October 5

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Minister of Justice receives Ambassador of Turkey

Ulaanbaatar, October 5 (MONTSAME) Minister of Justice and Domestic Affairs S.Byambatsogt received Tuesday Ambassador of Turkey Murat Karagoz, in conjunction with completion of his diplomatic mission. The Justice Minister acknowledged the developments in the justice cooperation of Mongolia and Turkey, mentioning the signing of Cooperation Protocol between the Ministries of Justice in 2000.

The Minister also informed that the State Secretary G.Bayasgalan will be attending the International Law Summit on October 17-19 at the invitation of the Minister of Justice of Turkey.

Mr Karagoz said over 3,000 Mongolian nationals are living in Turkey, among whom are 130 families and 900 university students. Half of the students are benefitting from Turkish government scholarships, he said.

Meanwhile, there are some 270 Turkish citizens residing in Mongolia, and none of them have been suffered legal violations or crimes while here, noted the Ambassador. 

Minister S.Byambatsogt inquired whether Turkish businesspeople and investors in Mongolia face any problems. The Ambassador appreciated the minister's concern and said there have been some obstacles the concession executing companies have met in receiving their payments.

At the end, Mr Karagoz handed the letter of Turkish Minister of Justice and invited Minister S.Byambatsogt to pay a visit to Turkey at his convenience.

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Mongolia to sign extradition agreement with Kazakhstan

October 5 ( Mongolia and Kazakhstan will exchange prisoners from 2017. The two countries agreed to sign a prisoner extradition agreement during the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which will be held on June 2017 in Kazakhstan.

Earlier today (5th October), at the meeting of S.Byambatsogt, Mongolia's Minister of Justice and Domestic Affairs and Kalybek Koblandin, Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan to Mongolia, the prisoner extradition agreement was discussed. Ambassador Koblandin noted that Kazakh PM Karim Massimov discussed the state and prospects of expansion of bilateral interaction in trade and investments with Mongolian President Ts.Elbegdorj during the XI Summit of ASEM which took place in Ulaanbaatar earlier this year.

Kazakhs and Mongolians have a shared history as nomadic pastoralists and established formal diplomatic relations in 1992. Mongolia is separated from Kazakhstan by only a thin strip of land - less than 40 km across. There are approximately 160,000 Kazakhs living in Mongolia, most of them in the far western province of Bayan-Ulgii.

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Mongolia and Kazakhstan to sign Transfer of Prisoners AgreementMontsame, October 5


Alaska, Mongolia team up for Disaster Management Leadership Seminar

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, October 4 (DVIDS) — A five member team from the Alaska Air National Guard's 212th Rescue Squadron participated in a Disaster Management Leadership Seminar in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Sept. 19-23.

The Mongolia National Emergency Management Agency hosted the first of it's kind exchange, partnering with service members from the AKANG's 212th RQS, U.S. Army's 97th Civil Affairs Battalion, 95th Civil Affairs Brigade (Airborne), 5th Military Information Support Battalion, U.S. Air Force's 320th Special Tactics Squadron and Special Operations Command, Pacific, in a leadership seminar.

"This is the first that I am aware of where we have actually gone in at an operational level and shared subject matter expertise for the operator type," explained Tech Sgt. Cody Inman, a pararescuemen with the 212th RSQ. "[The seminar] consists of classroom subject matter expert sharing of information, hands on training – going both ways between the National Emergency Management Agency and the members of the Alaska National Guard – hands on extrication that culminates with a field training exercise where we put all the skills that we've learned from each other together in an extrication and mass casualty incident." 

The Guardsmen attended the engagement in Mongolia as part of the National Guard State Partnership program. The program was implemented to couple foreign democracies with states to develop unique security partnerships that ensure U.S. strategic access and a sustained presence in countries worldwide.

"We are here in support of the Alaska State Partnership Program and the relationship between the Alaska National Guard and Mongolia's National Emergency Management Agency, Special Rescue Unit, and Law Enforcement University," explained Inman, who most recently participated in exercise Gobi Wolf, a civil-military disaster preparedness and response initiative, this past April. 

Since it's paring in 2003, Guardsmen have partnered with Mongolia in several exercises and exchanges including Gobi Wolf, multinational peacekeeping exercise Khaan Quest – both hosted by Mongolia – and Alaska Shield, a state sponsored Homeland Security exercise, hosted by Alaska. 

U.S. personnel have deployed as advisors with the Mongolians to Iraq since 2004 and Afghanistan since 2009.

With almost 15 years of U.S. operations combating international terrorism, pararescue has gained a lot of invaluable experience in theaters across the globe.

"We are happy to share this experience with the National Emergency Management Agency and Special Rescue Unit of Mongolia," said Inman. "These guys are an extremely professional and competent rescue team and in the end we, both come away better at our jobs by sharing knowledge on our various skill sets.

"The engagement focused on discussion forums and hands-on engagement in disaster response management, human rights, displaced persons, incident command system, mass casualty incident management, crisis communication and vehicle extrication. Both countries had the opportunity to share knowledge and demonstrate best practices. 

"[U.S. participants] are taking tons of experience, tips and techniques – especially from the NEMA portion [of the seminar] – and they plan on bringing that back with them," said Maj. Saong You, 97th CA BN's Theater Civil-Military Support Element commander. 

"When they go to other host nations, they can share that information they get from this training."

"Our team has learned a ton about some of the specialized rescue equipment these guys approach extrication with," explained Inman. "Their mind set when it comes to mass casualty incidents, search and recovery operations is very, very similar. I would say that we are 99 percent on the same page and for that one percent we are able to discuss why it works for them, how it could possibly work for us and everybody comes away better at the mission." 

Both countries are looking forward to future exchanges and the opportunity to share expertise and practice their teaching skills, and according to Inman and You, both sides benefit from the relationship. 

"I see a long term and beneficial relationship between the country of Mongolia and the state of Alaska with regard to our capabilities," added Inman. "I feel like we have a lot to offer them, and they have a lot to offer us. So I look forward to building on this relationship and maintaining a continuity here." 

"They have already hit me up for follow on training, as well as the subject matter experts," said You, with regards to U.S. and Mongolian agencies. "I hope to come back here again and participate in future subject matter expert exchanges."

This year, Alaska and Mongolia completed 18 exchanges ranging from air and cold weather operations to senior leader engagements. They are scheduled to participate in Gobi Wolf and Khaan Quest next year.

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Health, Education

Mongolia celebrates World Teachers' Day

October 5 ( Teachers' Day in Mongolia has been celebrated on 5th of October, the same day as World Teachers' Day since 2013 when the Mongolian Parliament decided to link the days. Before this, Teachers' Day in Mongolia had been celebrated on first Friday in February. More than 100 countries celebrate World Teachers' Day.

Plans for numerous celebration and events are underway for Teachers' Day in Mongolia. The opening ceremony of the Teachers' Day celebration took place at the State Opera and Ballet Theater earlier today (5th of October). At the ceremony, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Sports awarded the best teachers, schools and nurseries.

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MASA Alumni Talk: B.Onon, Fullbright Fellow, October 7

October 5 (UB Post) The Mongolian Association of State Alumni (MASA) will hold a lecture at the American Corner on October 7.

The speaker for October will be B.Onon, a 2014-2016 Fulbright fellow. She received her master's of arts in psychology: behavior analysis at the Western Michigan University. During her study, Onon has completed a 750-hour autism practicum as a part of the degree requirement.

The talk will give practical tips for studying and living in the USA as a Fulbright fellow.


Where: American Corner

When: October 7, 5:00 p.m.

Admission: Free

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Blood donations increase by 35 percent this year

October 5 (UB Post) Blood Donation Day, marked on the third day of each month, took place on October 3 in connection with the government policy to increase the supply of blood and blood products as well as to ensure their safety.

On this day, the National Blood Center announced honorary awards to donors. Three donors received the Bronze award, which is awarded to people who donated blood more than 70 times, and two people received the Golden award, awarded to people who donated more than 180 times.

This month, people who donated blood were given Ulaanbaatar smart bus cards. Many companies joined in this month's donation.

During the donation, the National Blood Center called on Ulaanbaatar residents to donate blood.

The National Blood Center reported that blood donation rate grew by 35 percent this year. Although blood donation is increasing, Mongolia still does not have enough fresh blood supplies, reported doctors. There are nearly 130,000 blood donors throughout Mongolia, and 600 donate regularly, underlined the National Blood Center.

Blood Donation Day aims to promote blood donation and encourages people to become donors. The World Health Organization recommends that if three percent of a country's population regularly donates blood, the country will have enough blood supply.

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High Tech Health Care Comes to Mongolia's Countryside

New facilities, equipment, and knowledge mean better primary health care for more than 700,000 rural Mongolians.

·         High Tech Health Care Comes to Mongolia's Countryside

·         In Mongolia, improved medical services are keeping people healthy.

·         Mongolia strengthens primary health care for 700,000 in rural areas.

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, October 4 (ADB) - One day in March 2015 Myagmar Javzmaa's 10-year-old son, Azjargal, could not breathe. He was rushed to Arkhangai Province General Hospital in northern Mongolia. As Myagmar anxiously held Azjargal's hand, nurses administered oxygen and emergency support. With his condition worsening, Myagmar was told Azjargal could not be transported to the National Center for Maternal and Child Health 520 kilometers away in Ulaanbaatar.

But there was another option. Taking advantage of new modern equipment and staff training, the provincial hospital establised an internet-based telemedicine link to remotely connect Azjargal and a specialist.

Examining images of the child's lungs and ordering further tests, the specialist was able to stabilize Azjargal. Once stabilized the trip to Ulaanbaatar was possible and Azjargal made a full recovery.

"Not only my son but other people I know have received quality care from this new hospital," says Myagmar.

Arkhangai Province General Hospital is part of the Third Health Sector Development Project's efforts to improve the health and quality of life of Mongolians. The project improved everything from primary health care and health insurance to building health facilities, upgrading infrastructure, and providing modern equipment and training for medical staff.

The Asian Develompent Bank funded the project and partnered with several government and medical stakeholders, including the ministries of health, finance, population development and social welfare, the Mongolian National University of Medical Sciences, and the Mongolian Association of Family Doctors.

Strengthening health care facilities

Mongolia's health care system had been hobbled during an era of centralized and inefficient hospitals, poor quality care, and aging infrastructure. Two earlier ADB-supported health projects helped win considerable improvements.

Building on these projects, the Third Health Sector Development Project aimed to reduce disparities in access to health services between rural and urban areas by strengthening primary health care services for more than 700,000 people in five provinces and two districts of Ulaanbaatar. It also aimed to support health sector reforms nationwide.

Under the project, 10 new district health centers were built, another 10 renovated, and 37 wells were constructed for access to clean water. The project provided medical, laboratory, and waste management equipment to 90 district health centers with medical equipment distributed to 61 family health centers in 2011. Five general hospitals received medical, diagnostic, and networking equipment.

Amarjargal Narangerel is a statistician in the medical records department at the new Khotont district health center which was equipped with health information hardware and software under the project.

When she worked in the old facility all patient records were typed. "Today, we integrate health information by computer and send patients' medical histories to the province's central database via the internet," she says. "It saves so much time."

Growing confidence in modern facilities' capacity to provide quality medical care in rural areas means local people no longer face expensive trips to larger centers. Narankhuu Dondog, a 33-year-old accountant who receives treatment at Khotont district health center, says before the project her family had to travel to the provincial capital to seek medical treatment.

"Now, it is much easier and cheaper to receive care near home," she says.

Better education, better medicine

From family health centers on the frontlines of primary health care, up to district and general hospitals, a key to quality health services is to improve conditions and incomes for medical staff and create a continuing medical education program for doctors, nurses, and community based rural health workers.

The project provided training for doctors in areas such as cardiology; imaging diagnostics; and palliative, pediatric, and emergency care. Nurses, midwives, and rural health workers received training in physiotherapy, home nursing, and basic laboratory tests. In all, 5,542 health professionals, 76% of them women, were trained.

Health coverage for all

The project also helped develop a new health financing model for Mongolia and supported the preparation of the Health Insurance Law, adopted by Parliament in 2015. National health insurance coverage increased from 73% in 2007 to 98% in 2013 and the government now provides health coverage for vulnerable groups and free access to medical services for the poor.

The success of the project can be seen in improved outcomes in the country's Millennium Development Goals. Maternal, infant, and under-5 mortality rates have all decreased, along with tuberculosis.

Ask Shilchin Degmid, an 87-year-old nomadic livestock herder in Arkhangai province, about how improved local medical treatment is helping people and saving lives, and he will tell you about his wife's treatment at the Khashaat district health center.

"This year, my wife suddenly fell ill and needed urgent medical care," says Shilchin, who moves with his herd up to five times a year. Providing outreach health services to nomadic herders is a big challenge in the Mongolian countryside where distances are vast and roads often poor.

"The hospital staff came very fast to provide treatment. Emergency services have greatly improved," he says.

Learn more about ADB's work in Mongolia and follow ADB's Mongolia Resident Mission on Facebook.

This article was originally published in Together We Deliver, a publication highlighting successful ADB projects across Asia and the Pacific that demonstrated development impacts, best practice, and innovation.

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Culture, Society

UNICEF to earmark USD 26.8 million for Mongolian children

Ulaanbaatar, October 5 (MONTSAME) Minister of Foreign Affairs Ts.Munkh-Orgil received Tuesday Resident Representative of the UN Children's Fund Roberto Benes. They deliberated ways of implementing the Country Programme of UNICEF to launch next year in Mongolia.

The Minister recommended the Fund to cooperate with the authorities on upgrading pre-school education, improving access to kindergartens and drinking water supply for school children.

The UNICEF approved the Country Programme of 2017-2021 for Mongolia on September 14. In  this context, USD 26.8 million projects are designed on children's health, growth, educational environment and child protection.

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Surviving on the streets

By Elise Honningdalsnes

October 5 (UB Post) A pair of small, beautiful hands reach out to housemother, searching for a hand to hold. The hands belong to a beautiful young child with intense brown eyes. No one knows her name, but at the orphanage they call her Altaa. It is short for Altantsetseg, which means "Golden Flower".

Altaa is running around in the nursery. She falls, laughs and gets up again. She's playing with another girl and they are both searching for attention from the older kids. Despite only spending a short time at the orphanage, she's already settling in well. Hugs and kisses from the older kids are mandatory. The smiling one-year-old has had a rough first year, but now things are changing as she is taken care of and fed every day; it's a new world.

Altaa is a third generation street-child. She used to live in a utility tunnel underneath the buzzing life of the city. The dank, humid air, the smell and the varying temperatures have all left their mark on poor Altaa. This young child grew up believing that hanging out in sewer tunnels under the streets was normal. She's probably never had anything related to a bath and her clothes hadn't been changed in forever before arriving at the orphanage. The young girl is fairly malnourished and she is too small for her age. Her mother drank a lot during the pregnancy, which has left a permanent mark on the young child. She will always carry the damage that alcohol has inflicted on her.

Currently, there are about 60 children living on the streets in Ulaanbaatar, according to the authorities. However, NGO's say the number is believed to be up in the hundreds. Most of them have run away from home due to abusive parents, or simply because their parents were so impoverished that they had no choice but to let them go. Many of the girls living on the streets have been victims of sexual abuse and if pregnant, they have been beaten into miscarriage by their abusers.

There are still severe cases of violence and sexual abuse happening in homes all around the city. In many cases, grandparents are the ones raising the children, and sometimes this leads to neglect of the younger ones. In other cases, domestic violence is directed at the children of the house and they finally run away from home.

The street kids have no choice but to beg, shine shoes or pick pockets. They have nowhere to go, so they sleep on empty cardboard boxes outside in the cold or in dirty manholes. If they happen to fall sick, they won't live until next summer.

Many girls living on the streets become victims of prostitution. They sell themselves in order to pay for tomorrow's food. Some of these girls fall pregnant and suddenly they have another life to care for in addition to their own.

The government has tried and failed to find homes for these kids. One of the things they have tried is to cover up the manholes. Unfortunately, because of the inhume winter temperatures, this only led to children freezing to death on the streets. Another initiative they've tried is to find homes for the kids. When put in apartments in the city, the kids run away because they're scared and they want to go back to the familiar, but cold, environment they used to live in. This is a result of little or no follow-up from the authorities after being placed in homes.

Dugarmaa lives on the streets in Ulaanbaatar. Her home is a bench behind the State Palace, and that's where you can find her every day. Twenty years on the streets has set a mark on her, but she is always in a good mood and smiles back if you smile at her.

The older lady doesn't beg, so the only way she can get money is by collecting empty bottles and cans. However, Dugarmaa isn't the only one collecting bottles, so the job isn't as easy as it sounds. Whenever she collects one kg of cans and bottles, Dugarmaa receives 100 to 200 MNT.

During her 20 years living on the streets the older lady has made several connections and she is well-respected by the others. Last week the lady received money from a stranger. At the same time a younger bloke living in the same area was hit badly by a car. Dugarmaa spent her money on a walking stick for the boy.

A few days later he returned to Dugarmaa and repaid her with bread. Dugarmaa has helped young, pregnant girls on the streets and she knows how hard life can be for all the children living there, after all, she has 20 years of experience. Dugarmaa lost her son several years ago, and she fears what winter might bring.

There are however less kids and grown-ups living on the streets today than earlier. Today there are about 30 orphanages in and around Ulaanbaatar that take care of children with various backgrounds. Most of the orphanages are run by foreigners and NGO's. A few years ago, mothers left their infants on the doorsteps outside the orphanage because they had no opportunity to take care of their children. Today, the number of children coming to the orphanages is decreasing and the government is doing a better job helping these children than earlier. Adoption within Mongolia is also increasing and more children are put in safe and loving homes.

However, everyone isn't as lucky as the children who come to the orphanage. Many of the street kids are afraid of the authorities, reporting on abuse by the police. The children will rather stay with their friends on the streets than being taken care of by the authorities. The children tend to stay together in groups of the same gender and they rarely walk around alone for safety reasons.

With winter approaching and temperatures dropping, the children will be sleeping close to each other in their manholes to survive the night. Every day is a battle for these unfortunate children.

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The youth's resigned resolution to desert Mongolia

October 5 (UB Post) Every day, millions of people are forced to flee their home countries because of persecution, war, or violence. But Mongolians are fleeing their home country because of poor opportunities for prosperity. Many husbands, wives, mothers, and fathers are leaving their spouses and children to keep their nose to the grindstone.

The number of Mongolians who travel abroad reached 1.04 million people in June 2016, rose to nearly 1.23 million people in July, and reached 1.46 million people in August. This index saw a 40 percent increase in six months compared to data from previous years, noted D.Otgonjav, a specialist at the General Department for Citizenship and Migration of Mongolia.


The Civil Registration Center in Zuun Ail is greeted by a long queue of passport applicants at the entrance every morning. Despite being well aware that the center opens at 9:00 a.m., everyone insist on arriving early, pushing people to come at around 4:00 a.m. to secure a spot at the front of the line.

"Today (October 3), the first person arrived at exactly 4:00 a.m., and by 8:30 a.m., more than 200 people had been waiting in the line. Some 600 people applied for a passport last Friday, and on Thursday we provided service to approximately 700 people," said a staff member at the Civil Registration Center in Zuun Ail.

The number of people applying for new passports is increasing as the years pass. The National Registration and Statistical Office (NRSO) reported that over 120,000 people had applied for a passport, but within the first half of this year, 130,000 passport applications were submitted. The majority of these people have been identified as young people between the ages of 18 and 40, prime years to cultivate a passion for a career.


There are multiple reasons why a growing number of Mongolians are going abroad, such as the most obvious reasons: to travel or study. Traveling is always fun, with plenty of adventures, challenges, and encounters which can help boost your confidence, independence, and cultural sensitivity. Gaining a world-class education, enriching your CV with an impressive educational background, and brushing up on your language skills are definitely enticing enough for any student to consider packing their bags and heading to the airport. However, these aren't the only reasons why people are choosing to go abroad. While some travel overseas voluntarily, others see international travel as their last resort to treat an illness, to earn enough money for tuition, or to support their family.

The UB Post asked a couple of university students who have applied for passports why they want to go overseas.

Two students majoring in Japanese studies at the National University of Mongolia (NUM) said they were accepted for an exchange student program in Japan and needed a passport to travel. One of them said, "Studying in Japan will help me improve my language skills and meet new people, as well as gain insight on globalization."

A third-year student says he took a one-year leave of absence from school because he couldn't afford tuition. He hopes to earn money for tuition by working in the Republic of Korea for three months. To get a working visa, he needs a passport, and so he's applied for a passport for the first time.

"I actually worked for a construction company during the summer to earn my tuition, but the company went under because it couldn't provide salaries for workers. After that, I tried harvesting and selling nuts, but it wasn't nearly enough to cover my tuition. Now, I'm trying to go to the Republic of Korea and work for three months," he explained.

Students aren't the only ones suffering from economic difficulties. The unstable economy is driving highly-educated, and even elderly people, to seek hard labor jobs in foreign lands.

"I could earn more if I do various jobs abroad instead of working at a dental clinic in Mongolia," said a Mongolian dentist who has two children, ages one and five.

A 50-year-old woman explained that she needed to work abroad because there were no other means to make a living in Mongolia. "It's way better to work abroad than to work in Mongolia. It's hard to get more than the minimum wage in Mongolia. Not everyone gets around one million MNT a month. I  get 300,000 MNT to 700,000 MNT since I work at a factory."


The majority of Mongolians traveling abroad go to the Republic of Korea, according to Ya.Ariunbold, the Consulate General of Mongolia at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"Each year, 50,000 Mongolians apply for a visa to the Republic of Korea at the Korean Embassy in Mongolia. According to their Consular Department in charge of visa issues, visas were issued to 95 percent of them," Ya.Ariunbold said.

In 2014, eight Mongolian nationals had been illegally residing in the Republic of Korea. As of August 2016, 368 Mongolians were identified to have illegally stayed past their visa expiration dates. This suggests that Mongolians prefer living and working in hiding abroad rather than returning to Mongolia.

Consulate General Ya.Ariunbold added that Mongolians make up the majority of people who overstay their visas when traveling to the Republic of Korea, but The UB Post could not verify this information. According to Ya.Ariunbold, although 50,000 Mongolians apply for Korean visas every year, there are 650,000 Chinese applicants. Although there are 13 times more Chinese people traveling to Korea, more Mongolians overstay their visas.

A migration crisis is returning to Mongolia, just like one that occurred several years ago. Back then, thousands of people waited for days in a long queue outside of Central Stadium to travel abroad, mainly to the Republic of Korea. This flow of Mongolians seeking new lives abroad would be well-supported if they could gain a good education and use it for innovating and improving Mongolia, instead of illegally residing in a foreign country and degrading the country's reputation. Considering Mongolia's current economic situation and other factors, these people can't be blamed for searching for higher-paying jobs, a better education, and a better living environment.

Personally, I would encourage people to go to another country where their talents and skills are more greatly valued. However, this could lead to serious issues concerning national security if an overwhelming number of Mongolians continue to desert their homeland. This might be slightly exaggerated, but it would make Mongolia vulnerable to foreign invasion, not to mention risk the extinction of the Mongolian race, which is very possible considering Mongolia has only three million people.

This matter definitely needs government attention. Both the Cabinet and Parliament need to take progressive and effective measures to stabilize the economy, improve living and working conditions for locals, create a favorable legal environment for taxes and wages, and enhance the education system. This would be the best solution for reducing the number of Mongolians living abroad.

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An international lawyer with a flamboyant hobby

By Elise Honningdalsnes

October 5 (UB Post) He is the first Mongolian ever to work for the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. N.Orchlon is an important man with a special and pricey interest: he collects perfumes.

How did you end up working in The Hague?

I've been living here for just over 10 years. I came here in March 2006. First, I did my bachelor's degree in Mongolia, and later I went to the United States to do my master's degree. After finishing I wanted to practice international law and I was lucky enough to get through the International Criminal Court's selection process. I then started working at the office which represents the interests of victims, where I have been working ever since.

Please tell us more about your work.

I am an international lawyer working for the ICC and I am the first Mongolian to ever work here. The ICC is the first permanent international criminal court, and it is based in The Hague in the Netherlands. The ICC has the jurisdiction to prosecute individuals worldwide for international crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. I work as a victims' lawyer here, as part of a greater team that represents the victims' voices. In my opinion, the court is a big advancement for humanity, as we are living in a quite lawless world where many war crimes and crimes against humanity are committed on a regular basis. My daily work consists of representing victims exposed to such horrific crimes. I am fully dedicated as a lawyer and my plan is to work for another five to 10 years.

What are some of the major cases you've worked on so far?

Right now I am working on a case against a Ugandan military group called the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). They have been combatting against the Ugandan government and we represent the innocent victims affected by the confrontations. The group has been active for nearly 30 years and its current leader is Joseph Kony. The group is accused of widespread human rights violations, including abduction, mutilation, child sex slavery, murder, and also forcing children to participate in hostilities.

Before this case I worked on a case against Kenya's Deputy President William Ruto and his associate. The case was unfortunately terminated due to lack of evidence supporting his involvement in deadly violence after the country's 2007 presidential elections. More than 1,000 people died and 600,000 were forced out of their homes in Kenya. This was the second time the ICC has admitted defeat in its attempt to prosecute alleged ringleaders.

Do you think there is a lack of Asian representation in international law?

Globally, there is a lack of Mongolian, and Asian lawyers in general, working internationally. There is a huge racial imbalance when it comes to people working in The Hague, Geneva, New York and so on. I am not blaming anyone, I'm just saying that we have to work hard and prepare ourselves, as we are part of humanity.

Besides my work and perfumery, I also try to inspire young lawyers in Mongolia to work and study abroad. If I can do it, so can they. I have a Facebook-group called "Orchlon Club for New Lawyers". In the group I share international opportunities, I share tips on how to study and go to law school in the west, on how to pursue an international career, etc. I want Mongolians to not just picture themselves in Mongolia, but to realize that they can go abroad, just as I've done.

Currently, in the group, there are about 2,800 members who are considering an international career.

How did you become interested in perfumes?

Honestly, it's just one of my passions which has really evolved. I have seriously been collecting and sharing my experiences with others for the past seven years. It all started when I was a teenager, when I was about 14 or 15 years old I think. It was around the time when Mongolia was opening up and people were bringing in stuff from China and Russia. That's when I first smelled the Axe deodorant, with the exotic name "Africa" and became interested in fragrances.

How many perfumes do you have in your collection?

I have a relatively small collection, with only about 150 to 170 bottles, which is not that big for a collector. I mean, some collectors have more than 800 to 1,000 bottles, so my collection is relatively small, but in terms of quality it is very good. I like the more expensive,  precious ones, the ones considered works of art. I don't collect the ones you can get in the stores. The most precious one I have is Clive Christian No. 1 – pure perfume. I recently bought this one, and in Europe, it is now retails for about 4,000 EUR. I got a good deal, so mine was not this expensive. It's a crystal bottle, the neck is plated with 24-karat gold and a small diamond is encrusted on the bottle. Only a very few people in the world have it, so I'm very lucky.

Do you also have women's perfumes in your collection?

This is one of the questions that always recur in the perfume world. For me, there is no sex to perfumes, it's something very subjective. In terms of smell there is no such thing as women's and men's perfume, smell is a very personal and individual thing. I see a perfume as a form of art, and there is no art only for men or only for women. There is no ballet only for women and there is no painting for men only – and the same thing goes for perfumes. We only see them like this because they are commercialized and marketed this way. It's all about personal taste.

You are an important member of the fragrance community here in Mongolia; can you tell us more about this?

I did start a Facebook-group to share my knowledge with other Mongolians interested in fragrance. Our group is now the biggest [fragrance Facebook] group in the world with 78,000 members. My goal is to reach 100,000 members over the next three years. The second biggest one, an international group, has only about 7,000 members, so I am very proud of my group. In the group I write a lot about perfumes, I give basic information on what perfume is, how you can differentiate between perfumes and so on. I also introduce new brands and write about what I personally like. Members also post about their experiences. I have also participated in big fragrance events internationally, in for instance Italy, and I have met many important people within the business.

Are you planning to make your own perfume?

That is one of my dreams. I would love to do that in the future, but right now I'm a quite serious lawyer, a professional, a father and I have a lot of responsibilities. I would love to do it later on, and I would name it after me and I would like to make the fragrance about Mongolia, as fragrance and smell is very important in our culture. If I do this, I would dedicate myself 100 percent. I don't think I can make a business out of it, but I would hire a professional and I would remain the creative director. Everything in the production would be important for me; the smell, the package, the bottle, and so on.

Have you considered moving back to Mongolia and would you practice law here?

I would love to in the future, but right now I don't feel ready. There is a lot of stuff I still need to learn, I want to progress professionally, and I also wish to do my PhD in international law before I leave Europe. I go back to Mongolia once or twice a year, and I would love to move back one day. I cannot see myself living in Europe all my life, I am only here because of my job. Right now, The Hague is my city; it is very quiet and much more comfortable than many other places around the world.

I wouldn't want to practice law as I do now if I move back to Mongolia because I've done that before. I worked as a criminal investigator for the police and the prosecution after finishing my undergrad. After my masters, I worked as a defense counselor, and I believe the impact of my work would be minimal. I would like to work in a job where I can advance the rule of law, work on human rights and make an impact. I would really appreciate that kind of opportunity and I would be willing to leave my comfortable life here for this. However, the time is not here yet, that's how I see it.

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UB to host Children of Asia International Sports Games in 2020

October 5 ( City governor and city mayor S.Batbold received Head of the Organizing Committee for the Children of Asia International Sports Games, Dmitry Evgenievich. 

Children of Asia International Sports Games are held every four years since 1996 under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee, and embrace the entire Asian continent. The event brings together more than 4500 young athletes and trainers from 40 countries. The athletes competed for 20 sport disciplines for 10 days, stated by the Head of the Organizing Committee for the Children of Asia International Sports Games, Dmitry Evgenievich. 

He added that Mongolian team has regularly attended the games and ranked 5th place in 6th Children of Asia International Sports Games. Ulaanbaatar has selected to host the games in 2020, considered as the most suitable place for the organization with its geographic location, organization time and weather condition. 

Construction of sport venue will be commenced in 2017 and will be commissioned before 2020, said City mayor S.Batbold. 

Many world`s greatest athletes were born from Children of Asia International Sports Games, including Olympic Champion N.Tuvshibayar, Olympic and World Champion N.Badar-Uugan and Olympic Bronze Medalist Kh.Tsagaanbaatar.

Link to article


Ulaanbaatar to host "Children of Asia" sports festivalMontsame, October 5


Hyogo runner thought he was over the hump after marathon

KASAI, Hyogo Prefecture, October 6 (The Asahi Shimbun)--In a day of surprises, a much bigger one was in store for Ikuo Omichi after he competed in a grueling 100-kilometer ultramarathon in the vastness of the Mongolian steppes.

He was presented with a camel for coming first past the finish line.

The prize was a mark of the esteem Mongolians held for the champion, who took 9 hours and 57 minutes to complete the longest portion of the 20th "Mongolian steppes" international marathon on Sept. 4.

To say that Omichi was astonished is to put it mildly.

But he could hardly take the animal back to Japan as Tokyo enforces a ban on livestock imports from Mongolia as part of measures to help prevent foot-and-mouth disease.

Five male runners from Japan, including the 34-year-old Omichi, followed a trail through the steppes outside the capital of Ulan Bator.

The temperature was a bracing 5 degrees when the athletes started out at dawn. Strong gusts of winds were a major concern, said Omichi, who works for the city government here.

He expressed astonishment at the great expanse of Mother Nature, with the steppes spreading in every direction. The sight of horses and sheep in herds was magnificent, and "the air tasted really good," Omichi said.

The dirt road was full of potholes--a runner's worst nightmare--and most likely the work of rats. Omichi said he was also distressed by the scarcity of refreshment points.

But his big surprise came during the award-giving ceremony, when he was invited to name a camel. No sooner had he settled on the name of "Go" than he was placed astride the animal's humps.

Omichi was encouraged to take a "victory lap," and cheers arose from among the spectators crowded around him.

Officials with the Consulate General of Mongolia in Osaka said the gift of a domestic animal is considered a token of respect and affection in Mongolia.

As camels are known for their ability to travel vast distances across deserts without drinking any water for days, the gift of such an animal was probably considered particularly apt for a champion who had overcome great obstacles to claim victory, the officials said.

As Omichi was unable to bring Go to Japan, he asked nomads to look after the animal before he left for Japan. When he bade farewell, the nomads asked him to visit Mongolia every year, Omichi said.

"You are filled with a sense of fulfillment after challenging your own limits and overcoming pain and hardships," Omichi, a runner of eight years, said in explaining his passion for ultramarathons. "The taste of beer that permeates your body is without parallel after such a race."

Omichi is the inaugural champion in the 100-km division, which was set up to commemorate the 20th of the "Mongolian steppes" marathons.

Once back in Japan, Omichi's workplace colleagues celebrated the birth of a new international hero, who, in their words, has "had his name engraved in the history of marathon in Mongolia."

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Art, Entertainment

Mongolia's Next Top Model to Launch in November

October 5( Mongolia will broadcast its own version of America's Next Top Model, the most successful and longest-running fashion reality TV series in history. Mongolia's Next Top Model show will be filmed by Education TV in November. Tyra Banks' Next Top Model show is currently shown on TV internationally in 170 countries and regions. It is the third international TV show to be aired in Mongolia. The producer of America's Next Top Model will arrive in Mongolia to provide suggestions and advice.

A total of 14 Mongolian models, including six men and eight women, will compete in 16 episodes of the show. Mongolia's most successful male model E.Enkhbold is serving as the executive producer of the show. He said; 'the winner will take a cash prize, a modeling contract with Hong Kong's 'SMI Movie' and a fashion feature with Mongolian sponsors.

America's Next Top Model series was first aired in 2013.

Link to article


Night of Led Zeppelin at Gandan Live House, October 7

October 5 (UB Post) It has been 40 years since English rock band Led Zeppelin's concert film "The Song Remains the Same" was released.

Mongolian live music band Rec On will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the film with a performance at Gandan Live House on October 7.


Where: Gandan Live House

When: October 7, 8:00 p.m.

Ticket Price: 10,000 MNT

More Information: 99142062

Link to article


"Barbie" comes to Mongolia

October 5 ( Ukrainian model Valeria Lukyanova, better known as the "Human Barbie", arrived at Chinggis Khaan airport earlier today (5th of October). She has been included on the referee panel of the "Face of Beauty International-2016" beauty competition.

"Face of Beauty International" is the world's fifth most important beauty competition. Under the theme 'Save Mazaalai' (referring to the endangered Gobi bear) the beauty competition will last from 23rd of September to 9th of October. Contestants from 60 countries are participating in the competition. The winner will receive a cash prize of USD40 thousand.

Valeria Lukyanova was born on 23 August 1985. In 2007, she won the World Wide beauty contest "Miss Diamond Crown of the World.

Link to article


Historical Play Month Kicks Off at State Drama Theater

October 5 (UB Post) The State Academic Theater of Drama (SATOD) has named October "Historical Play Month" and is showcasing plays set from 209 BC to the 20th century throughout the month.

Seven different historical plays will be performed, each with a two-day run. The first play of the series, B.Tsognemekh's "Tengeriin Khuu" (Son of the Sky), was performed on October 1 and 2. The next play on the calendar is S.Jargalsaikhan's "Temuujin", about the early life of Chinggis Khaan, which will be showcased at noon this weekend, followed by "Anu Khatan" by B.Shuudertsetseg in the evening. D.Namdag's "Orolmaa Ekh" will be performed on October 13 and 14, and there will be a special one-day performance of "Kharts Khatan" by D.Tubat and G.Birvaa. The sixth historical play in the line-up is "Saran Khukhuu" (The Story of Moon Cuckoo) by D.Ravjaa and A.Shartolgoi, being performed on October 21 and 22. "Tamgagui Tur" (State with No Stamp) by B.Lkhagvasuren is the final play in the series, and will be performed on October 27 and 28.

Each play will be followed by a short Post Performance discussion session, where audiences can freely share their thoughts and give feedback about the play. Post Performance sessions will be held on the following dates:

• October 2 – "Tengeriin Khuu"

• October 8 – "Anu Khatan"

• October 14 – "Orolmaa Ekh"

• October 22 – "Saran Khukhuu"

• October 28 – "Tamgagui Tur"

As part of their Theater-Viewer Program, the SATOD is offering ticket packages to encourage the public to watch performances and invest in cultural enrichment. Regularly-priced tickets range from 10,000 MNT to 25,000 MNT, depending on their location, but ticket packages offer three plays for 45,000 MNT, or five plays for 60,000 MNT, regardless of seat location.

The SATOD is partnering with the Union of Mongolian Artists in releasing an exhibition with a historic theme, and is planning to organize a book fair with Az Khur and Internom bookstores. The "Theatrical Production – My World" essay contest has also been announced within the scope of Historical Play Month.

Link to article


'48 hour' short films debut at iCinema

October 5 ( The so-called '48 hour' - short films are currently debuting at the 'I Cinema'. A total of 28 teams registered for the competition, however only 18 managed to send their short films on time. The event started yesterday (4th October); today will be your last chance to see the entries. The awards ceremony will take place at the 'Black Box' cinema on 7th of October at 19.00.

Registered filmmakers were required to make their short films within 48 hours from 30th September to 2nd October. Each team had to select its movie genre in a random draw 15 minutes before the start of the competition.

The winning film will go up against films from around the world at Filmapalooza 2017 for a chance at the grand prize and an opportunity to screen in next year's Cannes Film Festival's 'Court Métrage' - or short film category.

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