Tuesday, October 18, 2016

[TER signs BNU offtake; coking coal prices triple; MNT sets another low; and housing prices show stabilizing]

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

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Int'l Market

TER trading +4.65% today at A$0.045 after announcement

TerraCom signs 5.5 year Mongolian offtake coal deal

October 18 (Finance News Network) TerraCom Ltd (ASX:TER) has signed a binding term sheet for a 5.5 year offtake in regards to hard coking coal, produced from the BNU Coal Mine in Mongolia.

The company signed this deal with a subsidiary of the Kingho Group, which is one of the largest private coal companies in China.

TerraCom says this agreement is for a total of 7.5 million tonnes over the 5.5 year term.

The company also says a definitive sales agreement will be developed in the coming weeks, and that payment terms are in USD in the form of 100% irrevocable Letters of Credit.

TerraCom posted a net loss of $51.8 million at 30 June 2016.

Link to article

Link to TER release


TRQ closed -1% Monday to US$2.97

Oyu Tolgoi signs a major contract for underground development with Dayan Contract Mining

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, October 14 (Oyu Tolgoi LLC) Oyu Tolgoi today announced the signing of an underground mining and support services contract with Dayan Contract Mining, a joint venture between Hasu Megawatt and Redpath.

Oyu Tolgoi Chief Development Officer, Underground, Marco Pires, said, "This contract is another major milestone as we progress with the underground development and demonstrates our commitment to further strengthening national supply chain and skilled workforce. Dayan brings together the strength of a Mongolian company with international expertise in underground development, and will bring long term benefits by creating world class expertise and capability in Mongolia."

The Underground Mining and Support Services contract entails the sinking of Shaft 2 and Shaft 5 at Oyu Tolgoi. The two separate vertical shafts will reach a total depth of 1,284m and 1,178m respectively. Shaft 2 with 10m diameter is among the largest of its kind in the world. Shaft 5 is for ventilation purpose and has 6.7m diameter.

The contract also includes Underground Development Services, which will cover lateral development, large excavations and mine services of the underground mine; and Mining Support Services, which will cover development and provision of a skilled Mongolian workforce for the underground project.

Dayan Contract Mining Executive Director Bruce Dunlop said "We're pleased to be contributing to Oyu Tolgoi Underground Project, one of the most significant projects in the mining industry today. We look forward to a long partnership with Oyu Tolgoi, building a world class mine and developing a world class national underground workforce."

About Hasu Megawatt:

Hasu Megawatt brings experience in Mongolia's energy, mining and construction sectors, having worked with Oyu Tolgoi since 2006. With over 600 employees skilled in advanced civil and mining engineering and construction, Hasu Megawatt brings a great deal of value to the partnership. Since 2013, Hasu has been operating Oyu Tolgoi's Central Heating Plant, one of the critical utilities of the mine, to international standards and been providing high-quality service.

About J.S. Redpath Limited:

J.S. Redpath Limited is part of The Redpath Group, which is Canada's longest-standing mine contractor contributing over 50 years' experience to the industry. Over 5,000 employees situated around the globe offer services including underground construction, shaft sinking, raise-boring, mine contracting, raise mining, mine development, engineering and technical services, along with a variety of specialty services. Global experience has given Redpath expansive regulatory knowledge, regional expertise and cultural sensitivity.

Link to release


RBC Capital Markets Reiterates "Sector Perform" Rating for Turquoise Hill Resources

October 17 ( Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. (NYSE:TRQ)'s stock had its "sector perform" rating restated by analysts at RBC Capital Markets in a report released on Thursday. They presently have a $5.00 price objective on the stock. RBC Capital Markets' target price suggests a potential upside of 66.67% from the stock's previous close.

Other research analysts also recently issued research reports about the stock. TD Securities restated a "buy" rating and set a $5.50 price objective on shares of Turquoise Hill Resources in a research report on Thursday, August 4th. Canaccord Genuity initiated coverage on shares of Turquoise Hill Resources in a research report on Wednesday, August 17th. They set a "hold" rating and a $4.50 price objective on the stock. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Turquoise Hill Resources from a "buy" rating to a "hold" rating in a research report on Wednesday, June 22nd. Scotiabank restated a "sector perform" rating and set a $5.50 price objective on shares of Turquoise Hill Resources in a research report on Thursday, August 4th. Finally, Royal Bank Of Canada assumed coverage on shares of Turquoise Hill Resources in a report on Monday, July 18th. They set a "sector perform" rating and a $4.00 target price for the company. Seven research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company's stock. The company presently has an average rating of "Hold" and an average target price of $4.64.

Link to article


Photo News: Rio Tinto Board of Directors visited Oyu Tolgoi & Mongolia for the first time this week

October 7 (Oyu Tolgoi LLC)

Link to photo album


HAR last traded A$0.004 on October 11

Haranga: Brian McMaster Replaces Lippo's Marshall Cooper as Chairman

October 18 -- Haranga Resources Limited announces that Mr Brian McMaster has been appointed Chairman of the Board, replacing Mr Marshall Cooper. The Board thanks Mr Cooper for his contribution as Chairman.

Link to release


Final Director's Interest Notice: Michael Riady – Haranga, October 18


Coking coal spot price triples to $231/mt FOB Australia on severe shortage

Singapore (Platts)--14 Oct 2016 -- Coking coal prices continued its upward trend Thursday, tripling in value to $231/mt FOB Australia from $76.45/mt at the beginning of the year. This is based on the S&P Global Platts Premium Low Vol benchmark assessment.

Spot prices have climbed $12.50/mt since the beginning of the week on the back of high liquidity.

At least eight trades were reported done or close to being concluded this week. End-user demand, coupled with trader interest fueled the trades.

In terms of a geographical breakdown, the trades were mostly Asia-centric though with some participation from Europe.

Concerns over supply of prime hard coals after two force majeure declarations by Anglo American and South 32 in the last two months, coupled with perennial Chinese coal shortages led to the price rally, sources said.

PLV spot price has now exceeded the Q4 contract price settlement in northeast Asia by $31/mt. The settlement was done at $200/mt FOB Australia last Friday. The soaring met coal prices have also affected steelmakers' production costs, which was previously dominated by the price of iron ore.

Met coal now accounts for 60% of a steel mill's production costs compared with 42% in 2015, according to Platts cost composition model.

Trades in the paper market, however, suggested a backwardated structure.

Paper trades on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Platts PLV FOB Australia were at $182/mt FOB Australia Thursday for Q1 2017.

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Local Market

MSE Trading Report: Top 20 +0.12%, ALL +0.08%, Turnover 11.2 Million Shares

October 17 (MSE) --

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Reds are when MNT fell, greens when it rose. Bold reds are rates that set a new historic high at the time.

BoM MNT Rates: Monday, October 17 Close

























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Bank USD rates at time of sending: Khan (Buy ₮2,305 Sell ₮2,320), TDB (Buy ₮2,305 Sell ₮2,320), Golomt (Buy ₮2,305 Sell ₮2,320), XacBank (Buy ₮2,308 Sell ₮2,322), State Bank (Buy ₮2,305 Sell ₮2,320)

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

Link to rates


BoM issues 126 billion 1-week bills, total outstanding -23.2% to ₮294.15 billion, lowest since June 22

October 17 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 126 billion at a weighted interest rate of 15.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release


UB Housing Price Index Falls 0.2% in September, Down 7.3% from 2015

October 17 (BoM) --


New Housing

Old Housing

Index change /from 2013.01 base/




From previous month




From year beginning




From previous year




Link to release (in Mongolian)


IMF 'rescue' team to arrive in Mongolia

October 17 ( Mongolia has requested a rescue loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as it faces an escalating battle to plug the gap in its public finances. Mongolia's finance minister, B.Choijilsuren met IMF officials in New York earlier this month.

A team from the IMF will visit Ulaanbaatar on Thursday (20th of October) to carry out discussions with the finance minister and the president of the Central Bank of Mongolia.

Mongolia has been struggling to control its budget deficit, honour its international payments, and curb the severe depreciation in its currency following the global commodity price rout. This year, the Mongolian budget deficit plummeted to 20 per cent of GDP and currently faces around $2bn in public and private debt next year.

Analysts had suggested to reduce the budget deficit and to stop long term loans.

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Politics & Legal

Mogi: it's not aimag, capital city council, just soum and districts.

No alcohol sale during local elections on October 19-20

October 17 ( Due to upcoming election day of Citizens Representatives' Khurals of Aimags, the Capital City, Soums and Districts on Oct 19, mayor of UB issued a decree prohibiting any public event and selling of alcohol on Oct 19, 20. 

The decree clearly states authorities will not give permit to organize any public events. Other cultural, entertainment and sports activity will not take place on this day. 

Oct 19 is officially non-working day according to the law of Mongolia. Any organization working on this day will provide employees with opportunity to vote.

Also, alcohol won't be sold and served on election day and day after election (Oct 19, 20) to prevent criminal activities. UB metropolitan police department and Capital city specialized investigation authority are to work together to monitor.

Link to article


End poverty now more than ever, Mongolia

By Jim Anderson, Country Manager for Mongolia

October 17 (World Bank Blogs) October 17 is End Poverty Day. Every day is a day to end poverty, but it helps to designate one day per year to reflect on this goal and how we can work to achieve it.

In Mongolia, poverty declined from 2010 to 2012, and again from 2012 to 2014. Since poverty rates very closely track overall economic growth, this is not surprising. Growth in labor incomes over the period helped reduce poverty, and this growth, in turn, was generated by increases in real wages in the non-agricultural sector and non-wage income in the  agricultural sector.  Mongolia's fondness for universal social transfers also contributed: poverty rates fell from 38.8 percent in 2010 to 21.6 percent in 2014, based on the national poverty lines.

That was then, this is now.

Although the 2016 poverty level is not yet available, we can be sure that the economic downturn has not helped. Overall growth of GDP is projected to be only 0.1 percent for 2016, with production in the non-mining sector declining. And Mongolia's pro-cyclical policies that funded social programs in the boom years now face opposite pressures. Social welfare programs that are categorically targeted and pro-cyclically funded are more difficult to scale up when times become difficult.

With a large and unsustainable budget deficit (projected to reach 18 percent of GDP for 2016), and with growing levels of debt, Mongolia has little choice but to focus on fiscal consolidation. Can they do so without hurting the most vulnerable people in society?

While the task is daunting, evaluating the likely poverty impacts of fiscal changes can help. Consolidating some of Mongolia's 71 social welfare transfer programs, strengthening those that are pro-poor, and making universal programs poverty-targeted would help make the system more efficient.  Maintaining the overall envelope of the safety net budget, however, would mean that savings come from somewhere else. But where?

Mongolia spends relatively more on capital investment than most countries, and much of the spending is inefficient. Reducing the public investment budget, and improving processes to make spending more efficient, would ease pressure on the budget without unduly impacting the poor. On the revenue side of the equation, transitioning Mongolia's system of low, flat income tax rates to a more progressive system would also help protect the working poor while freeing up needed revenues. And as tempting as it may be to create new programs outside of the budget system, doing so only exacerbates the problems; avoiding the new programs to begin with makes more sense.

End Poverty is more than a slogan; it is a call to examine the poverty impacts of policies and then to act, especially when times are bad. It's Possible. What do you think?

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AmCham Mongolia Daily Newswire, October 17

Former General Director of the State Housing Corporation of Mongolia is under investigation 

Summary: The former General Director of the State Housing Corporation of Mongolia A. Gantulga is under investigation by the Independent Authority Against Corruption. A. Gantulga is being investigated for using his position to grant a 1 billion MNT loan to a private company and causing considerable damage to the State Housing Corporation of Mongolia.

Foundation for a 50 MW solar power plants is complete

Summary: Last Friday, the foundation for a 50 MW solar power plant was set in the Sergelen soum's Khushigiin Khundii. The power plan has a budget of 94 million USD and ranks fourth in Asia in terms of investment and capacity. Moshea Eco Energy hired the Korea Engineering Consultants as the contractor, and the power plant will be able to supply 15MW energy by the first quarter of next year. It is planned that in 2019, an additional 15MW will be supplied and the remaining 20 MW should be supplied by 2021. The President of Moshea Eco Energy D. Batbaatar stated that, "Energy Regulatory Commission approved the price of one kw/hour between 15-18 cents. The project is an independent project separate from the new airport, and I am pleased to note that this project is the beginning of the 'green city' that will be founded following the airport project and the airport will have a reliable power source."        

Member of Parliament O. Baasankhuu: Citizens involved in Standard Bank must be investigated

Summary: Member of Parliament O. Baasankhuu organized a press conference and shared information regarding reports on Erdenet Mining Corporation. O. Baasankhuu highlighted that the public has been suspicious regarding the 49% of sale of Erdenet Mining Corporation to the Mongolian side. O. Baasankhuu stated that he issued four requests to the Speaker of the Parliament, Independent Authority Against Corruption and the State General Prosecutor. In the requests, O. Baasankhuu had recommended that law enforcement authorities investigate the directors of Erdenet Mining Corporation since 1990s and to also investigate individuals linked to the Standard Bank to relieve public suspicions. O. Baasankhuu stated that, "Erdenet Development Fund must be created and some portion of the taxes paid by Erdenet Mining Corporation must be allocated to the fund to protect the citizens of Orkhon province.

Link to newswire


Border crossings with China to be closed on Oct 31 for Chinggis' birthday

October 17 ( In scope of the birthday of Chinggis Khaan, Mongolian border crossings with China will be closed on Oct 31, according to the agreement on the border ports and their rules between the Mongolia and China. 

The first day of the first winter month of the year commemorates the birthday of Chinggis Khaan and legislated to be celebrated as "Mongolian Pride Day" and is announced officially as national celebration. 

However, border crossings will be open on Oct 19 or Election day of Citizens Representatives' Khurals of Aimags, the Capital City, Soums and Districts, reported by the Mongolian Immigration Agency.

Link to article


Premier invites Japanese entrepreneurs to invest in Mongolia

October 17 (UB Post) Mongolia and Japan's Prime Ministers held a joint news conference on Friday, after their official meeting held to strengthen bilateral relations between their two countries.

Prime Minister J.Erdenebat highlighted that the visit to Japan was his first trip abroad since being appointed in July. He noted that his meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took place in terms of mutual understanding, trust, and kindness.

Link to article


Mongolia - Consulting firm wanted to conduct Regional environmental, Environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA)

Market: Mongolia

Sectors: Environment and Financial & Professional Services

Opportunity Type: Aid Funded Business

Opportunity value: VALUE UNKNOWN

Opportunity expires: 20 OCTOBER 2016

Selection of consulting firm to conduct Regional environmental assessment (REA) and Environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) for flow regulation of the Orkhon River and construction of reservoir complex project

The Government of Mongolia (GoM) has received financing from the World Bank, toward the cost of Mining Infrastructure Investment Support Project (MINIS), and intends to apply part of the proceeds for consulting services.

The Mining Infrastructure Investment Support Project now invites eligible consulting firms ("Consultants") to indicate their interest in providing the Services. Consulting services ("the Services") shall conduct REA and ESIA for flow regulation of the Orkhon River project.

The assignment is expected to commence in January 2017. Duration of the assignment is expected to be 24 months (a total of 67 Consultant staff months).

This assignment requires very high qualifications since it will be critical for determination of the overall implementation of the Orkhon River Reservoir Complex project strategy. Consultants may associate with other firms in the form of a joint venture or a sub consultancy to enhance their qualifications. (Please specify in detail whether the association is Joint Venture (specifying the leading partner), OR Sub-consultants (specifying the main consultant).

For more information please contact team in Mongolia.

Apply for this opportunity

Link to release


Mongolia - Consulting firm wanted to develop feasibility study

Market: Mongolia

Sectors: Financial & Professional Services, Mining, and Water

Opportunity Type: Public Sector

Opportunity value: VALUE UNKNOWN

Opportunity expires: 20 OCTOBER 2016

Selection of consulting firm to develop Feasibility Study of "Flow regulation of the Orkhon River and construction of reservoir complex"

The Government of Mongolia (GoM) has received financing from the World Bank, toward the cost of Mining Infrastructure Investment Support Project (MINIS), and intends to apply part of the proceeds for consulting services.

The Mining Infrastructure Investment Support Project now invites eligible consulting firms ("Consultants") to indicate their interest in providing the Services. Consulting services ("the Services") shall develop detailed set of Feasibility studies for "Flow regulation of the Orkhon River and construction of water reservoir complex" project.

The assignment is expected to commence in January 2017. Duration of the assignment is expected for 24 months (a total of 162 Consultant staff months).

This assignment requires very high qualifications, since it will be critical for determination of the overall project implementation strategy. Consultants may associate with other firms in the form of a joint venture or a sub consultancy to enhance their qualifications. (Please specify in detail whether the association is Joint Venture (specifying the leading partner), OR Sub-consultants (specifying the main consultant).

For more information please contact team in Mongolia.

Apply for this opportunity

Link to release


EBRD Procurement: Tsetsii Wind Farm - Extension of Tavan tolgoi substation

Procurement ref: 8430-IFT-47949

Country: Mongolia

Business sector: Power and energy

Project number: 47949

Funding source: Japan-EBRD Cooperation Fund

Contract type: Project goods, works and services

Notice type: Invitation for tenders

Issue date: 17 Oct 2016

Closing date: 30 Nov 2016   at  10:00   (local time)

Extension of "Tavan tolgoi" 110/35/10 kV substation

Extension of "Tavan tolgoi" 110/35/10 kV substation by 110 kV two outgoing line assemblies dedicated for connection of Tsetsii Wind Farm with 50 MW installed capacity to the grid of the Central Energy System.  To extend 110 kV open switchyard of "Tavan tolgoi" 110/35/10 kV substation by installing two outgoing line assemblies with SF6 insulated circuit breakers with associated civil works for foundation of equipment and related relay protection systems and other required devices.

Tendering for the contract to be financed with the proceeds of a grant from the Bank is open to firms from all countries. The proceeds of the Bank's grant will not be used for the purpose of any payment to persons or entities, or for any import of goods, if such payment or import is prohibited by a decision of the United Nations Security Council taken under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations.

Tender Documents (electronic copies) may be obtained from the office at the address below or in electronic version sent by e-mail (only) upon payment of a non-refundable fee of USD 300 /three  hundred dollars of United States of America/ (excluding the bank fees) or equivalent in a convertible currency.

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Ulaanbaatar's oldest library reopens

October 17 ( Named after A.M. Gorky, the oldest library in Ulaanbaatar city was reopened last week. The Maxim Gorky Library first opened in 1946, however, it has been closed for reconstruction since September by order of the General Agency for Specialized Investigation.

The first library in Ulaanbaatar city, the Maxim Gorky Library is currently marking the 80th anniversary of the death of the famous Soviet writer. The library originally had nearly 3000 books, one reading room with 20 seats and one worker; seventy years on, it has nearly 70,000 books, two reading room and seven workers.

Maxim Gorky (1868-36), is famous for his novels "Mother", his autobiographical trilogy, his play "The Lower Depths" and his poem "The Song of the Stormy Petrel".  He was the father of the school of 'Socialist Realism'. Gorky died under murky circumstances, possibly at Stalin's behest.

Link to article


Towers on the steppe: compact city plans and local perceptions of urban densification in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

By Raven Anderson, Michael Hooper & Aldarsaikhan Tuvshinbat

Published: August 28


This paper examines how plans for urban densification, particularly those supported by international organisations, intersect with local residents' perceptions of housing and land use in the developing world. The study focuses on ger districts in Ulaanbaatar, the site of numerous plans for large-scale urban transformation. Ger districts are rapidly growing areas named for the felt tents that are considered their typical housing mode. This study interviewed 120 ger district residents across central, middle and outer areas of the city. The results reveal migration patterns different from those typically reported, with the highest proportions of migrants and renters living in the central district. Interviewees generally held positive views of apartment living, while preferring low-density land use. Residents' views of density were strongly influenced by Mongolian attitudes to land and open space. The paper concludes by discussing the reasons for, and consequences of, residents' and international policy-makers' different framings of urban density.

Link to research page


Better Decision-making Through Community Mapping in Mongolia | October 26, 11:30am. CSU Morgan Library

October 17 (Village Earth) Village Earth and the Center for Collaborative Conservation is hosting a very special presentation on community-based mapping and GIS by Enkhtungalag Chuluunbaatar from the Ger Communty Mapping Center based-in Ulaanbaatar Mongolia. This presentation will take place from 11:30am to 1pm, October 26th at the Morgan Library Event Hall on the campus of Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Abstract: Ulaanbaatar, capital city of Mongolia is home to almost half of the country's population, in which more than 60% live in the ger area. Centralized administrative power, rapid urbanization, economic and political instability calls for a stronger civil society with a vision for long-term, sustainable, and inclusive development. Ger Community Mapping Center sees community mapping as one of the tools to inform and empower local communities and the general public to promote participatory decision-making. Community mapping draws on the implicit knowledge within local communities on everyday issues with long-term consequences.

This presentation will take place from 11:30am to 1pm, October 26th at the Morgan Library on the campus of Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado.

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Ten Years on, Mongolian Beauty's Murder Remains Unexplained in Malaysia

Altantuya Shaariibuu, slain mother of two, awaits justice

October 17 (Asia Sentinel) It will soon be 10 years since Altantuya Shaariibuu, a jet-setting Mongolian translator and party girl, was murdered sensationally in a patch of jungle outside the Kuala Lumpur suburb of Petaling Jaya on the night of Oct. 19, 2006.  Although the two elite policemen who were convicted of killing her, the party who ordered her execution has never been identified and justice remains unfulfilled.

The 28-year-old beauty's death has connections to one of the biggest scandals in Malaysian history although that scandal has since been superseded by another that dwarfs it – the disappearance of as much as US$7 billion, lost from the state-backed 1Malaysia Development Bhd. Investment fund.

Both of those scandals can be laid directly on the doorstep of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. The death of Altantuya Shaariibuu also has disturbingly close relations to the Prime Minister, through the people who killed her. 

At the time of her death, Altantuya had just been jilted abruptly by a prominent defense consultant and Najib's close friend, the married Abdul Razak Baginda, after accompanying him to France in the later stages of an agreement by the French defense giant DCN to sell two Scorpene submarines to Malaysia for US$1 billion. Najib is widely believed to have been along on the trip.

French prosecutors have alleged that €114 million in kickbacks were routed to the United Malays National Organization, the country's leading political party, through a company called Perimekar that Razak Baginda had established just prior to the transaction. Another €28 million was routed to a Hong Kong-based company called Terasasi Ltd. whose principal officers were Razak Baginda and his father. Two French officials have been charged in court with bribing Najib, who was defense minister when the Scorpene transaction took place.

According to the documents obtained by Asia Sentinel, the money was passed on with the knowledge of then-French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe and then-Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.   

In documents obtained by Asia Sentinel in 2012, French officials identified Altantuya as a translator during the final preparations between the two governments to hand over the vessels to Malaysia. A French official later paid for a trip by Razak Baginda and Altantuya to Macau on holiday.

According to a sworn statement by the late private investigator Perumal Balasubraniam, Razak Baginda told him he had in effect inherited Altantuya from Najib himself.  According to Bala's statement, Najib at the time was defense minister and expected to become prime minister – and a Mongolian beauty and mistress wouldn't have looked good.

In an undelivered letter found in her hotel room after her death, she admitted having demanded US$500,000 in "blackmail" but also wrote, I'm (a) nice person. I can't hurt someone but (Baginda) is a powerful person, he (has) money (and) he (has) connection (to the) police (and the) government…Maybe I (was) wrong to have bothered and blackmailed him… But if he didn't promise me, I would (have) never come from far away to Malaysia."

The true identity of the persons who ordered the woman's gruesome death – shot twice in the head, and then her body, believed to be carrying an unborn child, was blown up with military explosives – has never been learned.  The destruction of her body is believed to have been an attempt to demolish the fetus's DNA. Although Najib's aide-de-camp at the time, Musa Safri, was the man contacted by Razak Baginda to "do something about her," according to Razak's statement taken directly after her mangled remains were discovered.   

Two bodyguards of Najib's, who according to the statement of one of them were to be paid RM50,000 to RM100,000 once the murder was completed, were convicted and sentenced to hang.  Unidentified high government officials are believed to have ordered the two to kill the then-28-year-old mother of two.

One of the two policemen, Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, has been held in detention in Villawood Immigration Detention Center for 21 months after Australian officials learned he had left Malaysia once he was temporarily freed by an appellate court.  He was in Australia on an expired tourist visa.

At the time of Altantuya's death, the two killers, Sirul and Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri, were members of an elite police commando unit that protected Malaysia's top leaders, including Najib, the man who ordered the purchase of the submarines.  

The affair began when, shortly before her death, Altantuya flew with two friends to Kuala Lumpur to confront Razak Baginda. The jilted woman made multiple, failed attempts to see Razak Baginda at his home and office, including two days before her murder when she yelled in the street he was a "bastard" and should come out to speak to her.

On the evening of October 19, 2006, according to court testimony, Altantuya returned to Razak Baginda's home. She was suddenly collected up by two elite policemen – personal bodyguards to then Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak —  who left their official duty stations and go off to kill a woman that they had never met, using police-issued weapons that could be traced back to them. Malaysian officials have insisted the killing was a random act. According to Sirul's sworn statement, she pleaded she was pregnant.  Sirul's statement, which describes in graphic terms the events that led to her death and the destruction of her body with military explosives, was never admitted in court despite the fact that he was clearly informed of his rights prior to making it and acknowledged that he was making it voluntarily.

Razak was subsequently charged with having abetted her murder, a charge he strongly denied. He was acquitted without having to put on a defense in 2008 although in a statement given to the police he said he had asked officials to "do something" about Altantuya.

Sirul and Azilah, who pleaded not guilty, were convicted in 2009 of the murder and sentenced to death. During their 159-day trial, over two and a half years, Sirul said he was "a black sheep who has to be sacrificed" to protect unnamed people.  A US Embassy cable made public by Wikileaks speculated that the trial was being deliberately delayed.

Both men were acquitted by the Court of Appeals in 2013. Sirul immediately left for Australia on a tourist visa before the Federal Court, Malaysia's highest, was to hear an appeal by federal prosecutors against the acquittal. In January 2015, the Federal Court reinstated their convictions and death sentences and Azilah went alone to prison.

When authorities learned Sirul was staying with his son in Queensland, they arrested him on a tourist overstay and detained him in Villawood, where he has remained ever since. Remarkably, after he made sensational remarks by telephone to the popular news site Malaysiakini that he might tell what he knew, two lawyers connected with the United Malays National Organization flew to Australia to defend him – raising the spectacle that lawyers for the country's top political party were defending and advising a convicted murderer in one of Malaysia's highest-profile cases.

There the matter has stalled. Azilah is in prison, Sirul is in comfortable detention in Australia. Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has demanded a deeper investigation into who paid the two to kill the Mongolian beauty.  There has been no response. Mahathir has been threatened with libel and sedition charges in his attempts to pull down Najib.

Despite widespread calls for justice, Altantuya Shaariibuu's death, her participation on the Scorpene transaction and the events that led to her death ten years ago remain unexplained.

Link to article


China, Mongolia vow to deepen bilateral military relations

BEIJING, October 17 (ChinaMil) -- Xu Qiliang, vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission (CMC), met with Dulamsurengiin Davaa, chief of General Staff of the Mongolian Armed Force, who was in Beijing to attend the seventh Xiangshan Forum, on the afternoon of October 14, 2016.

Xu said China and Mongolia are friendly neighbors and China attaches great importance to its relations with Mongolia.

Xu stressed that President Xi Jinping and President Tsakhia Elbegdorj have met with each other for a number of times in recent years, and have jointly declared to upgrade the bilateral relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership, pushing the bilateral relations into a new historical period.

The mil-to-mil exchanges and cooperation between China and Mongolia have become a positive factor that pushes forward the development of the bilateral relations with the joint efforts of both sides, Xu said.

China is willing to work with Mongolia to implement the consensuses reached by the leaders of the two sides, further strengthen the mil-to-mil strategic communications, deepen the pragmatic cooperation in each field, upgrade the mil-to-mil relations, and make bigger contributions to regional peace and stability.

Davaa said developing Mongolia-China ties has been a priority in Mongolian foreign policy. The relations between two sides has been constantly strengthened, high-level mutual visits have been frequent and the field of pragmatic cooperation has been expanding in recent years, which play an important role in the development of the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries.

He noted that the Mongolian military expects closer ties with the Chinese military in such fields as peacekeeping, medical services and joint exercises.

Sun Jianguo, deputy chief of the Joint Staff Department under China's CMC, Sheng Bin, director of the National Defense Mobilization Department under China's CMC, Danba Ganhuyag, Mongolian Ambassador to China and others also attended the meeting.

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PM visits Japan: Will Tavan Tolgoi project continue?

October 17 ( On Saturday (15th of October), Mongolian Prime Minister J.Erdenebat returned from his first official visit to Japan, were the previous day, he held talks with his counterpart Shinzo Abe. During the negotiations, the two sides agreed on a new medium-term implementation programme for the Mongolia-Japan strategic partnership for 2017-2021, setting out a 'roadmap' of actions to be taken by the two countries over the next four years. During the forum, which took place in Tokyo at the same time, Mongolia's 'Energy Resources' signed a memorandum of cooperation with Japan's Sumitomo Corporation.

Prime Minister Erdenebat, currently has a serious task on his shoulders - namely, to save the Mongolian economy. He is seeking loans and financial help from the International Money Foundation (IMF) and other countries to lift  Mongolia out of the economic crisis in which it finds itself. It was in this connection, that he made his first foreign visit to Japan, which is one of the country's largest international donors.

Previous prime ministers, when visiting Japan often discussed the export of Mongolian natural resources to third countries. Mongolia, the second largest landlocked country in the world, is rich in natural resources. Almost all Mongolian PMs have visited Japan, however, few of them have concluded official bi-lateral agreements.  'To export Mongolian coking coal to Japan and built a railway network with financial aid from Tokyo, was a topic of conversation, when Su.Batbold, N.Altankhuyag and Ch.Saikhanbileg were prime ministers.

A year ago, the then prime minister, Ch. Saikhanbileg agreed with Japan to built a railway, a highway, a metro, metal processing plants and a power station in Mongolia under a medium-term strategic partnership programme. None of these, however, has been implemented. Mongolian political disputes scared off Japan investors who were interested in Tavan Tolgoi coal mining project.

After visiting Japan in June, Z.Enkhbold (Dem), who was then the influential speaker of the parliament, said, 'We have moved forward in relations between Japan and Mongolia as well as agreed on actions to be taken by both sides over  the next five years'. Now, how many of these things have we done? It is important what J.Erdenebat 'does' rather than what he says.

Prime Minister Erdenebat has the advantage of a huge parliamentary majority - his Mongolian People's Party (MPP) took 65 seats in the June election. So, Mongolians believe that the Tavan Tolgoi project will continue under the ruling MPP, which has also promised to support the Gatsuurt project.

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Shinzo Abe: I had highly productive talks with Mongolian Prime MinisterGoGo Mongolia, October 17


Defense Minister Welcomes French Ambassador

Ulaanbaatar, October 17 (MONTSAME) Minister of Defense B.Bat-Erdene received Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of France Elizabeth Barsak on October 17. The latter noted the defense relation between Mongolia and France have been progressing greatly.

The Minister of Defense affirmed Mongolia's high recognition of France's contribution to training the military cadres of Mongolia and expressed his confidence that these ties will continue to grow.

Minister B.Bat-Erdene wished success to further works of the Ambassador.

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Mongolian journalists and S.Korean diplomats celebrate friendship

Ulaanbaatar, October 17 (MONTSAME) Mongolian-Korean Friendship Meeting between the Confederation of Mongolian Journalists and the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Ulaanbaatar took place on Friday at the Gorkhi-Terelj National Park. The friendly meeting incorporated promoting of national cuisines and traditional costumes, archery competitions, and quiz named "Who knows Korea best?".

The event was participated by more than 80 people. President of the Confederation of Mongolian Journalists B.Galaarid handed the Honorary Medal to the diplomatic mission.

Publishing designer of the "Government News" newspaper D.Khulan championed the quiz and was granted Incheon-Ulaanbaatar flight ticket, and the first runner-up – the marketing manager of news website S.Monkhzul was awarded a Busan-Ulaanbaatar ticket.

Grand prizes of the Mongolian traditional archery went to the winner, sports newswriter of MONTSAME D.Ulziisaikhan, the first runner-up, MONTSAME's cameraman Ch.Gerelt-Od and the second runner-up, editor-in-chief of MONTSAME's "Khumuun Bichig" newspaper B.Elbegzaya.

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Health, Education

Mongolian Academy of Sciences Elects Vice President D.Regdel as New President

Ulaanbaatar, October 17 (MONTSAME) Academician D.Regdel, formerly the first vice president of the Academy, was elected the next president at the congress of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences, took place on October 13. He holds degree of Doctor of Science in chemistry.

D.Regdel was born in Govi-Altai Province in 1951. He graduated from the National University of Kharkov in 1976 majoring in biochemistry, and defended doctor's degree (Ph.D) in the Humboldt University of Berlin in 1985 and the degree of doctor of science (SC.D) in 2001.

Academician D.Regdel was elected a member of the Academy in 2002. Until then, he worked as a researcher at the Institute of Chemistry and Physics, lab curator and the science secretary at the Institute of Chemistry and Chemical Technology. D.Regdel has become the first vice president in 2009.

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12th Khureltogoot Int'l Science Conference is underway

Ulaanbaatar, October 17 (MONTSAME) The 12th International "Khureltogoot" Scientific Conference's debates took place on Saturday at the Central Library of Science and Technology of the Mongolian University of Science and Technology (MUST). Scholars from India, China, South Korea and Italy have presented their papers along with the selected seven articles from university students and researchers of Mongolia.

The handpicked papers by Mongolians were under themes of making bio-diesel fuel, creating 3D model replica systems for various locations, using bacterial emulsification for cleaning crude oil contamination, new graphic password scheme containing questions- background- pattern and implementation and nominal unit detector in Mongolian language.

The best two invention will be awarded MNT 4 million grant by the Minister of Education, Culture, Science and Sport.

The scientific conference is being organized by the Ministry, the Academy of Science of Mongolia, the MUST, the Science and Technology Foundation and the Association of Young Scientists of Mongolia. It is to last until October 22.

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UNFPA approves $15.1 million programs for Mongolia in 2017-2021

October 17 ( Deputy Prime Minister U.Khurelsukh welcomes the Head of UNFPA Mongolia Ms. Naomi Kitahara today on Oct 17. 

UNFPA approved US$ 15.1 million programs for Mongolia to be implemented in 2017-2021, aiming at improving sex and reproductive health as well as youth development and gender equality. 

During the meeting, both parties expressed their readiness to collaborate actively within the implementation of the program. India will host the Asian Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction next month. Therefore, Head of UNFPA Mongolia Ms. Naomi Kitahara requested Deputy Prime Minister U.Khurelsukh to support UN initiatives and recommendations on that issue at the conference.

At the meeting, Ms. Naomi Kitahara noted that "Mongolia became one of the nine countries, reduced the maternal death. However, as of first quarter of 2016, maternal mortality is expected to rise. I wish Mongolia would not draw back its success on reduction of the maternal mortality due to economic situation". Then Ms. Naomi Kitahara requested Deputy Prime Minister not to cut the costs regarding social welfare, and saving lives. Further she promised to purchase and donate the required medical equipment to hospitals, considering the economic crisis faced to the country. 

Parties had talks on further bilateral actions to provide required information of National Emergency Management Agency and National Statistics Office.  In addition, Ulaanbaatar plans to host the Asian Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction in cooperation with the Government of Mongolia and The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) in 2018. At the end of the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister U.Khurelsukh proposed UNFPA to cooperate and support on hosting the conference and expressed his belief that Ulaanbaatar would host the second ASEM.

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Blog: Mongolian National Teacher's Day

By Anna Buchanan, Peace Corps Volunteer Mongolia 2016-2018

October 17 (Gone a While Blog) -- The role of a teacher in Mongolia is reveled. Students respect their teachers and a teacher's dedication to their job and hard work is rewarded every year on the first week of October, National Teacher's Day. This is a week-long celebration. On 30 September, 12th graders became the teachers for the day while teachers took the day off and had sport competitions all day and night.

I rocked up to school wearing my sneakers and volleyball outfit. I just love how everyone assumes I'm a volleyball expert because I'm tall. I usually end up kicking the ball. I didn't know that all the teachers would eventually change into their sport outfits later. So for the first three hours, I felt very much like an awkward kangaroo, just bouncing on my heels waiting for my counterparts to change out of their fancy dresses and high heels.

Volleyball would have fared better if the ball hadn't been rock-solid. It seemed every time that the ball ricocheted off of an arm an expletive was heard. The entire competition lasted until 2 AM. Nevertheless, we English teachers came in 2nd place and got silver medals for our bruises, sleep deprivation, and sportsmanship. In between games, we played table tennis. Teachers also bought food and drink. I went the lazy route and bought bags of chips while my counterparts make khuushuur, soup, and buuz. A thermos of hot milk tea and bottles of vodka and wine decorated the table but I had to pass on the first two due to it being 9 AM. I definitely would have been awful at volleyball if I had gone down that road.

Like Stanley Stewart wrote in his book "In the Empire of Genghis Khan:" "When Mongolians party the rest of Asia locks its doors."  I can wearily support this statement.

At 8 PM, the volleyball competition was put on pause and was replaced with an assembly. Teachers rushed to switch outfits. The lights of the gym were dimmed and music that sounded like music from an action movie trailer started to play. All the 12th graders stood in two long lines on both sides of the gym, clapping and cheering for all the teachers as we walked down the middle. It felt like I was being applauded for winning a medal of valor. The director of the school made a speech and there were singing and dancing performances. I managed to not clumsily trip my way through the Mongolian waltz.

On 6 October, teachers from all the schools in the aimeg gathered together in the theater for an awards ceremony. There were many long and tedious Mongolian speeches. I found myself nodding off as unintelligible Mongolian was spoken, awards were awarded and pictures were taken on stage. Thankfully, the award ceremony ended and a concert began. This concert was incredible! It was every tourist's dream who visits Mongolia. Teachers played various instruments such as the horsehead fiddle. Gorgeous outfits were worn. There was dancing and singing including throat singing. Also, when Mongolians clap, they clap together in unison.

After the concert, everyone scattered to their respected school's party at a venue. My school's party was held at the Wedding Palace. Dinner was served while more speeches were made and more teachers won awards. Vodka was being chugged at such as speed that I didn't think anyone was going to show up to school the next day. The entire week was a whirlwind as I celebrated a new holiday in my new home.  

Note: I have made a video of the performances but due to very slow wifi, my videos are not currently uploading but will hopefully be uploaded at a later time in the future

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Nature, Environment

Mongolia: Facing climate change collectively

With climate change and desertification threatening their livelihood, herders form collectives to manage resources.

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, October 17 (Al Jazeera) – In a country where desertification, extreme weather patterns and overburdened pastures are becoming the norm, the nomadic livestock herders of Mongolia are mobilising at the community level to adapt to climate change.

Mongolia has no comprehensive national regulations on pasture land management, which makes it difficult to address the environmental issues on a national level. In the absence of such policies, some Mongolian herders have taken it upon themselves to come up with solutions.

Families are banding together to form work collectives to implement regulations that will mitigate their impact on the environment and create better disaster preparedness. In some quarters, these work collectives, called pasture user groups, or PUGs, are also helping to increase household incomes.

The current environmental state and livestock production methods are proving unsustainable, says Purevjav Gomboluudev, the head of the climate section at the Information and Research Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology and Environment, a national agency.

"Mongolia tends to rely heavily on the summer season for growing fodder and preparing livestock feed," he says. "But desertification, over-grazing and poor land management is leading to ill-prepared winters."

These harsh winters, called "dzud" in Mongolian, "ultimately disrupt the national economy," says the head of pasture land management in the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry, Byambadorj N

This past winter claimed some 1.1 million head of livestock, forcing the Mongolian government to declare a state of national emergency. While the "dzud"  of 2009 – 2010, wiped out 20 percent of the entire nation's herds, worth an estimated 4 percent of the GDP.

Today, to be better prepared for the ravages of climate change, PUGs are pooling labour and resources to grow fodder, collect and sell yak wool, manage grazing schedules and rehabilitate valuable grasslands.

In addition to environmental benefits, PUGs in Tariat County, in Arkhangai Province, have also reaped financial benefits. Selling yak wool together as a collective rather than individually has allowed them to cut out the middle man and negotiate higher prices on raw materials.

"Our margins are 10 to 15 percent higher now," says Jambaldorj S, the head of the Arkhangai Province Federation PUG,  founded with support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

Banding together to sell wool may also have positive implications for the climate.

Since records began in the 1940s, Mongolia has seen its temperatures warm by 2.1C, roughly three times the global rate of 0.8C. As a way to battle climate change both at home and globally, Mongolia signed the 2016 Paris Agreement, with a pledged commitment to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 14 percent by the year 2030.

While it remains to be seen if the government will be able to affect meaningful change by this time, although Mongolia's Intended Nationally Determined Contribution document, submitted with the signing of the Paris Agreement, further commits to keeping livestock under sustainable numbers to cut down on methane emissions.

Herders may already be decreasing the carbon footprint of the agriculture sector through their collectives and the streamlining of agricultural processes, such as transportation costs for livestock and goods, to lower emissions.

While herd size management remains a touchy issue among herders, who take cultural pride in the size of their herd, PUG leaders and local government officials are educating herders about the benefits of keeping fewer, healthier animals.

"Telling a household to reduce their livestock is rather offensive," says Ochirkhuyag L, livestock and pasture leader at the Ikh Tamir Federation. To encourage lower herd sizes, member households in Ikh Tamir's PUG can opt to sell excess livestock and use the profits to set up a risk fund that can be used in times of crisis, such as during a particularly harsh dzud. The fund offers better and longer-lasting security than extra heads of livestock.

The risk fund seems to be successful and the Ikh Tamir Federation PUG plans to carry out the programme again next year.

PUGs have also protected headwaters, grown vegetables for greater food security and offered financial assistance and climate change insurance to members.

"Ten years ago, everybody had more of an individualistic way of living and making decisions," says Jambaldorj.

"But now, we understand the challenge of pasture degradation and also how to use marketing opportunities by selling raw materials together … We're making changes in how we participate in all these changes happening in our country."

Nina Wegner and Taylor Weidman reported on this story with a travel grant from Internews/Earth Journalism Network

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Climate change collectives on the Mongolian steppe – Nina Wegner for IRIN, October 17


A Trek to the Giant Mongolian Glacier That Holds the Secrets to Global Warming

Deep in the Altai mountains, American scholars are using drones to study glacier-formed ridges that could unlock the mysteries of abrupt climate change.

October 17 (Pacific Standard) Thousands of years ago, near what is now the shared border of Mongolia, China, and Russia, water sat frozen in mountain glaciers that extended for miles. At the end of the Ice Age, with temperatures rising rapidly, the ice began to melt, and water poured across the landscape, carving out wide valleys. Granite silt and ice ground into the Earth, polishing smooth the sandstone bedrock.

As the ice receded, gray till, sediment, and boulders remained in the form of moraine ridges that describe where the glaciers once sat. Over millennia, these jagged landforms slowly weathered. Plants began to grow, and the grass fed newly arrived animalsyak, goats, and sheep, herded there by people who, like the vanished glaciers, have left signs of their own. Bands of early Turkic, Eurasian, and Mongol people came and left, nomadic groups who left burial mounds, memorials, and petroglyphs.

And now, in 2016, a different group is trudging up this valley wearing colorful jackets and carrying the latest technology. Up-valley, a team of men on horseback walk along a thin trail leading camels, carrying supplies for a month-long science expeditiondrills, GPS units, and a carcass of a freshly slaughtered sheep. Aaron Putnam is an hour behind them, hiking with a team of students, research assistants, and local guides. He's a glacial geologist from the University of Maine, and he and his team are here to collect the surface layer of granite boulders implanted in those moraines that formed at the margins of the glacier. I'm with them as an embedded reporter.

"This is the nexus of climate, humans, and geology, and it is all happening right here."

The team hopes that data derived from the rock can tell them when the ice melted. "This was the singular most powerful, most important climate event in human history. It allowed us to flourish," Putnam says. "But we don't know why that happened." Putnam is trying to determine what caused the Ice Age's demise; the answer could help us identify the triggers that cause abrupt climate change.

The remaining ice is the Potanin Glacier, the country's largest today. Putnam studies glaciers for what they can tell us about climate change of the past, but also for what they say about current warming. What caused the melting of ice sheets and alpine glaciers roughly 20,000 years ago is one of earth science's most enduring questions, and Putnam is developing a chronology of glacial retreat at the end of the Ice Age. He believes information extracted here holds the key to unlocking this mystery. Solving this problem could reduce uncertainty in predictive models that forecast the impact of anthropogenic climate change and vastly improve our ability to adapt to future warming.

Here in the deep interior of Asia, the grassland steppe gives way to shrubby desert and, now and then, timberline. The moraines are perfectly preserved. There is no forest to obscure them from view. For a researcher interested in geomorphology, it's a total playgroundand one that has been minimally studied. Samples from the glacial moraines here approximate a record of summer temperatures spanning thousands of yearsnew information that scientists have never had before.

What caused the end of the Ice Age? For a time, researchers thought that CO2 may have been the trigger, but Putnam doesn't think so. Neither does Michael Kaplan, a researcher at Columbia University who is also working on this problem. At least, they don't think CO2 was the singular trigger. "We don't think CO2 could be the initial smoking gun because some retreat happens before CO2 increases significantly," Kaplan says. Researchers have a unified record of warming across the Southern Hemisphere, but, Kaplan says, "the outstanding question is to know what happened in the Northern Hemisphere"precisely what Putnam hopes to learn from his work in Mongolia.

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Mongolian referee selected for IWF Youth World Weightlifting Championship

October 17 ( Mongolian referee, L.Odgerel, has been included the judgement panel for the 2016 IWF Youth World Championships. The competition will take place in Penang, Malaysia from 19th of 25th of October. Mongolian athletes will not, however, be competing in this competition. During the championship, the IWF (International Weightlifting Federation) will hold meetings and seminars.

This is the second time this year that L.Odgerel has been invited to be a referee at an international competition - in July she judged the Youth Weightlifting World Championships which were held in Georgia.

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"Zaisan-Baruun Shiree" hiking trail completed

October 17 ( In scope of 377th anniversary of the establishment of Ulaanbaatar city, City Tourism Department have completed the landscaping of 3.6 km hiking trails from Zaisan to Baruun Shireet. 

It is the first hiking trails meeting the international standards, which installed wooden sunshade, chair, table, bridge, information board and wildlife description found in Bogd Khan mountain. 

Also, the hiking trails enable residents to spend their free time productively.

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Art, Entertainment

Mongolia's Got Talent Contestant Wows Audience with Amarillo by Morning

O.Enkh-Erdene - Amarillo By Morning | Mongolia's got talent 2016

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Mongolia produces "Disney standard" animation of Chinggis Khaan's life

October 17 (MONTSAME) In the last few days, some high profile experts in the field of animation are talking about that Mongolia is creating a completely new and different face of animation in compliance with international standard and format.

To briefly describe about this animation, it is a full animated work that's been created on the basis of Chinggis Khaan's true life story. And this computer animation also is being praised by those professional experts and producers who claim that it has achieved the same level of quality and standard with Walt Disney Pictures, and what is the most remarkable of this work, the world media highlight, is that it was written, directed by a Mongolian author who hasn't got such an international track record.

This animation will be likely premiered late this year, unofficial sources say.

Thus, Mongolia is loudly entering into the global animation industry with a competitive computer animation platform when a key trend of outsourcing is shifting towards Asia.

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A Lesson in Light with Timothy Allen in Mongolia


September 12 (The Insatiable Traveller) I love solo travel but that doesn't always mean that I am necessarily alone. The more interested I become in photography, the more I enjoy taking small photo tours/workshops to explore my wish list destinations.

The benefits are threefold:

1. I discover a new place.

2. I improve my photographic skills by learning from professionals whose work I admire.

3. I meet people who enjoy photography as much as I.

My recent visit to western Mongolia was with a workshop led by Timothy Allen.

I love Tim's work, in particular his environmental portraits and use of single source light. His images have won many awards, been in countless prestigious publications, and he was named Travel Photographer of the Year in 2013.

When I learned about his workshops in Mongolia, I immediately wanted to go. His itinerary promised not only photo journalistic opportunities but staged shots he would arrange to teach us how he creates his signature portraits.

Our subjects would be the famed Kazakh golden eagle hunters—men who still practice the centuries old tradition of using eagles to hunt animals for their pelts, and who Tim has befriended over the last 10 years.

(There are under 100 legitimate eagle hunters left in Mongolia and it's conceivable that in a few generations the tradition will fade into obscurity as more young people abandon the culture's nomadic life to live in the cities.)

Since it was July and the middle of the summer and eagle hunters only hunt during the winter when an animal's fur is at its thickest, our subjects donned their traditional garb out of season at Tim's request. It was a new experience for me. I'd never photographed a shot that was set up before and I was curious to see how it would work.

Our first shoot was with Saylau, an elderly eagle hunter with a stately air, piercing eyes and an impressive goatee.  Hi wife Sayna, was slight and reserved but very sweet. She sat with him for a while and then left him to sit alone with his striking 3-year old golden eagle.

A few days later, we photographed Shohan, a handsome, somewhat famous eagle hunter whose family we camped near and hung out with the last four days of our two week adventure.

On Set

For more stories and photos from my trip to Mongolia click HERE.

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Mongolia Photography Workshop, September 23 – October 2, 2017

Kevin Pepper Photography

Introduction: Are you a lover of horses? Do you enjoy culture, meeting and photographing local and unique lands that is still virtually untouched by mass tourism? Debra and I are leading a group of photographers on a workshop through outer Mongolia for Eagle Hunters and their horses, and then back to Hustai National Park to follow one of the last remaining wild horses in the world.

Dates: September 23, 2017 to October 2, 2017

Instructor(s): Kevin Pepper who will be leading his sixth trip to Mongolia and Debra Garside who will be making her second visit to Mongolia

Tuition: $5495USD for a maximum of 10 people. Single supplement is $500USD

Deposit Information: A $1000USD deposit is due to secure you're spot and the balance is due 90 days before we depart for Mongolia

Tour includes: 

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Suite 303, Level 3, Elite Complex

14 Chinggis Avenue, Sukhbaatar District 1

Ulaanbaatar 14251, Mongolia
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