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Tuesday, November 15, 2016
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Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original
KCC closed +1.35% Monday to C$0.375
- Peter Leaman, former Head of BHPB Mongolia and Regional Exploration Manager SE Asia for PanAust is appointed Senior Vice-President of Exploration
- John Holliday, former Chief Geoscientist of Newcrest is appointed Chairman of a newly formed Technical Committee
- Peter and John have extensive exploration experience and are credited with the discovery of multiple Tier 1 assets and other economically important porphyries
- Plus Minerals LLC, including Imants Kavalieris previously one of the Oyu Tolgoi executive exploration team, appointed Advisor to the Technical Committee
- New team joins existing board and management being aligned with shareholder value
- A workshop, site visit review and multi-target, multi-stage work schedule has been completed by the Technical Committee ahead of the recently closed IBEX transaction
VANCOUVER, Nov. 14, 2016 /CNW/ - Kincora Copper Limited (the "Company", "Kincora") (TSXV:KCC), following the recent closing of the IBEX transaction (refer November 7th, 2016 press release), is pleased to announce the appointment of Peter Leaman as Senior Vice-President of Exploration and John Holliday as Chairman of the newly formed Technical Committee. The Technical Committee will lead exploration efforts across the expanded portfolio, which following the IBEX transaction has more than tripled in size to over 1,500km2, creating the dominant landholding in the Oyu Tolgoi-Tsagaan Suvarga Devonian copper belt, with multiple targets currently being advanced.
A workshop and field visit including Imants Kavalieris of Plus Minerals, appointed an Advisor to the Technical Committee, has been undertaken reviewing the extensive datasets and targets within the consolidated portfolio. Industry leading specialists and geologists with extensive recent experience in the belt, including Mike Woodbury and Tsolmon Amgaa, in addition to the Technical Committee have established a technical program and schedule to advance priority prospects and a regional pipeline of earlier stage targets, which has recently recommenced.
Sam Spring, President and CEO, stated: "We are extremely excited to have Peter and John joining the Kincora team to lead our exploration efforts. Kincora will benefit from their expertise and previous success in the discovery of gold rich Tier 1 copper porphyries. These appointments and the involvement of such a strong wider team in the development of our work programs further demonstrates technical confidence of further major discoveries in this belt, where Kincora holds a dominant land position, and supports a systematic approach to advancing and testing a number of priority targets.
Kincora is also pleased that Peter and John have agreed to be compensated in predominately equity based remuneration packages, joining existing management and board, and aligning them with shareholders, providing exposure to exploration success while reducing cash burn."
On his new appointment, Peter Leaman noted: "Having overseen BHPB's copper exploration efforts in Mongolia, including the regional Joint Venture with Ivanhoe, and been involved in a number of similar style copper-gold discoveries globally to which are the focus of exploration in this belt, the consolidated Kincora portfolio is extremely interesting and the Southern Gobi the right address for further Tier 1 discoveries. Extensive datasets for the region have been carefully compiled, and a high level of professional geological understanding and exploration has been applied within the consolidated license portfolio assisting the recent workshop and ongoing field season activities.
The conclusion of the workshop has resulted in a technically sound, systematic multi-phase, multi-target work schedule across a regional license portfolio of a scale last seen in the Gobi under the BHP JV, but looking to implement significant advances in exploration techniques since that period. We expect a number of targets to be identified and advanced from ongoing field activities implementing and integrating geophysics, geochronology and geology."
The Technical Committee has been established to lead Kincora's exploration efforts with Peter Leaman appointed Senior Vice-President of Exploration, John Holliday as Chairman and Sam Spring (Kincora President & CEO), the third member reporting to the Board of Directors.
HONG KONG, CHINA--(Marketwired - Nov. 14, 2016) - SouthGobi Resources Ltd. (TSX:SGQ)(HKSE:1878) (the "Company" or "SouthGobi) today announced its financial and operating results for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2016. All figures are in U.S. Dollars ("USD") unless otherwise stated.
Significant Events and Highlights
The Company's significant events and highlights for the three months ended September 30, 2016 and subsequent period to November 14, 2016 are as follows:
· Operating results - Although the market conditions and prices for coal has improved in China through the third quarter of 2016, the impact of these conditions was partially offset by the depreciation of Renminbi against USD. The Company sold 1.13 million tonnes of its coal products during the quarter compared to 0.49 million tonnes in the third quarter of 2015. The production for the third quarter of 2016 was 1.13 million tonnes compared to 0.71 million tonnes for the third quarter of 2015. The Company maintained a strong safety record and completed the third quarter of 2016 without a lost time injury.
· Financial results - The Company recorded a $3.2 million loss from operations during the quarter compared to a $14.9 million loss from operations in the third quarter of 2015. Revenue was $16.4 million in the third quarter of 2016 compared to $8.6 million in the third quarter of 2015. The operations for the three months ended September 30, 2016 has improved given the improved market conditions in China.
· China Investment Corporation ("CIC") convertible debenture(the "CIC Convertible Debenture") - On July 13, 2016, the Company executed deferral agreement with CIC which covers outstanding deferred cash interest obligations and associated costs of $18.8 million as of July 13, 2016 and the next Issue Date Anniversary Cash Interest payment of $8.1 million due on November 19, 2016. Pursuant to the deferral agreement, the Company has agreed to repay $1.3 to $1.4 million monthly from July to November 2016 and repay $20.7 million on December 19, 2016. In consideration for the deferred payments of $18.8 million, the Company will pay a deferral fee at a rate of 6.4% per annum to CIC. The interest payments due from July to October 2016 has been paid as at November 14, 2016.
· Short-term bridge loan - The Company has repaid the first tranche of the short-term bridge loan with interest of $5.0 million up to August 11, 2016. During June and July 2016, the Company drew the second tranche of $5.0 million. $1.5 million and $3.5 million will mature in March and April 2017, respectively.
· Appointment of a Director - Mr. Joseph Belan was appointed as Independent Non-Executive Director of the Company on August 16, 2016.
· Strategic Advisory Board - On September 16, 2016, the Company established a Strategic Advisory Board and appointed Mr. Abraham (Braam) Jonker as its initial member. The purpose of the Strategic Advisory Board is to provide non-binding strategic guidance and advice to the Board of Directors of the Company in connection with the Company's ongoing business activities and initiatives.
· Going Concern - As at the date hereof, the Company is focused on securing additional financing (which includes working capital financing from vendors) and longer term coal offtake agreements by building direct sales relationships with end customers so as to improve sales volumes. The Company has been negotiating with key vendors to lengthen the credit terms and extend the payable turnover cycle. Further, the Company has been exploring the utilization of trade financing in order to speed up the receivable collection cycle. The measures mentioned above are intended to allow the Company to ramp up production to capacity, meet existing as well as upcoming trade and other payables obligations and the interest due under the CIC Convertible Debenture, the short-term bridge loan, the Turquoise Hill ("TRQ") shareholder loan ("TRQ Loan") and the bank loan, to meet its obligations as they fall due and achieve its business objectives in 2016.
However, there is no guarantee that the Company will be able to successfully secure additional sources of financing. Unless the Company acquires additional sources of financing and/or funding in the short term, the ability of the Company to continue as a going concern is threatened. If the Company is unable to continue as a going concern it may be forced to seek relief under applicable bankruptcy and insolvency legislation. See section "Liquidity and Capital Resources" for details. As at November 14, 2016, the Company had $7.0 million of cash and $1.9 million of bank's acceptance notes, which are financial instruments in Chinese banking industry and are readily convertible into cash.
OVERVIEW OF OPERATIONAL DATA AND FINANCIAL RESULTS
- Investigation relates to consultant payment for Simandou mine
- Rio suspended executive Davies in relation to payment inquiry
November 14 (Bloomberg) Rio Tinto Group Chief Executive Officer Jean Sebastien Jacques said an investigation into the lawfulness of a payment made to an external consultant relating to a giant iron ore project in Guinea has "shell-shocked" the company and may take several years to resolve.
The world's second-biggest miner last week alerted authorities, including the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.K.'s Serious Fraud Office, to a $10.5 million payment made to Francois de Combret in 2011 for assisting negotiations with Guinea's President Alpha Conde. An e-mail exchange discussing the payment shows former CEOs Tom Albanese and Sam Walsh, who was then head of Rio's iron ore unit, were aware of the payment.
"Many people across Rio Tinto are still shell-shocked," Jacques said in an internal memo seen by Bloomberg News. "The day I was made aware of a potential issue we launched an investigation. It wasn't a decision we took lightly. We will fully cooperate with the authorities. Their investigations may take several years."
The $20 billion Simandou project was once one of the world's most prized mineral assets. It has been at the center of a power struggle for almost a decade having attracted some of the biggest mining companies, Israeli billionaire Beny Steinmetz and powerful advisers including investor George Soros and former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair. It's also spawned many legal challenges and a U.S. grand jury probe into potentially corrupt payments to Guinean officials.
Rio Tinto declined 0.3 percent to A$59.29 at 10:29 a.m. Tuesday in Sydney trading, as competitor BHP Billiton Ltd. fell 0.7 percent.
A team of external lawyers undertook a "significant data collection and review exercise," which led to the decision to alert authorities, Jacques said in the memo. Rio is restricted on what information it can release because the investigation is ongoing, said Jacques, who became CEO in July.
"Some of us may be feeling that we are better informed by the press than by ourselves," he said. "Speculation is running in some quarters and some of what is being said strikes at the heart of the culture and values of our company, which for me are fundamentally strong and vitally important."
Rio suspended key executive Alan Davies and said Debra Valentine, head of legal and regulatory affairs, stepped down in relation to the company's inquiry over the payment. Davies, head of Rio's energy and minerals unit, was accountable for Simandou at the time of the payment in 2011, the company said last week. He had been among internal challengers to become CEO ahead of the appointment of Jacques.
Rio announced at the end of October that it was exiting the Simandou project and handing over its stake to partner Aluminum Corp. of China, known as Chinalco. That was before Rio said it informed authorities over the payment to the consultant.
Development of Simandou and its estimated 2 billion metric tons of iron ore has been thwarted by numerous problems, including a slump in prices, corruption probes and the West African Ebola outbreak in 2014. There have also been difficulties in finding partners to fund the rail and port infrastructure component of the project expected to cost more than $10 billion.
Rio Tinto: JS Jacques says the miner is 'shell-shocked' by Guinea scandal – Australian Financial Review, November 14
Rio chief reassures 'shell-shocked' staff – The Australian, November 14
Rio Tinto debates Guinea payments at London board meeting – Reuters, November 14
- Mongolia's GDP growth in a multi year slump.
- Mongolia's currency (Tugrik) at an all time low.
- Asia Frontier Capital sees good chance that the Mongolian economy and stock market are bottoming out.
In line with our process of being on the ground in the countries we invest in, Thomas Hugger, CEO of Asia Frontier Capital and Fund Manager for the AFC Asia Frontier Fund, travelled to Mongolia last month to attend an investor conference.
The best time to travel to Mongolia is during the summer months when the temperature is still nicely above freezing. I departed Hong Kong on a sunny September morning where the temperature was 33 degrees. 4 ½ hours later I landed in Ulaanbaatar where the temperature was a cool 12 degrees. It was clear that winter was not far off.
With so few international flights connecting Mongolia to the outside world (there are about 9 major connections to places like Beijing, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Berlin, Seoul, etc. and some smaller cities in Siberia) the country remains isolated from most international travellers.
Arriving at the Chinggis Khan International Airport in Ulaanbaatar "UB" is like stepping back into Soviet times. Unfortunately, my flight was inconveniently timed with an incoming flight from Seoul which created havoc in the small immigration hall. A decaying Soviet-era relic, the airport is soon to be replaced by a much larger airport funded by the Japanese which will alleviate congestion both inside the airport and prevent outgoing flights from being delayed (in some cases more than 14 hours) by the city's harsh air pollution during winter months.
Having visited UB two years earlier (our investment analyst, Scott Osheroff, spent about three months in Mongolia last summer) I was keen to know how UB had changed during that time, financially and economically speaking. The facts were sobering; UB today faces extremely difficult times with a currency which is down almost 80% from its peak and a construction bubble which burst to wreak havoc in the property market. I still remember two years ago how full of cranes the skyline was (at the time I counted over 27 cranes standing in one place) and buildings sprouting around me like mushrooms.
Today the visual is much more sombre. Driving on the main road between the airport and downtown, it was nice to see hardly any cranes and much of the construction completed, but as we arrived in the city centre, several office buildings were either completed but entirely vacant, or half constructed.
Uncompleted office building from 2012 in the city centre of Ulaanbaatar
The first company I visited during my stay was a duty-free shop operator with a small shop at the UB railway station (where the Trans-Siberia Express linking Moscow with Beijing passes through) and at the Russian border. The company's stock had a dividend yield of over 20% over the past 4 years (when our fund started buying it) and additionally its price appreciated nicely since initial purchase. Then, a few months ago one of the largest local conglomerates acquired the company and is now seeking to buy out minority shareholders. This is one of the many examples of opportunity for investors amidst the "gloom and doom" of an economy suffering from a fallout in the resource sector. I came across several other such bright spots during my trip as well.
The next company I visited was the largest integrated cashmere producer in Mongolia and the 4 th largest in the world, and a factory visit thereafter. It just so happened that the day I was visiting was the company's 60 th anniversary and there was a large lunchtime celebration in the front courtyard. Amid the celebration, I was still able to grasp the quality of their operations by comparing them to a competitor I visited during my trip two years prior. This company employs 1,300 people in Ulaanbaatar, has a domestic market share of 66% and represents 44% of Mongolian exports (70% of its products are exported as "white label"). Mongolia's goats annually produce 8,500 tons of high-quality wool due to the cold climate used in the production of cashmere. This company buys 500 tons directly from herders, while most of the balance is purchased by Chinese traders. Hence, it is not a surprise that Erdos Cashmere, based in Inner Mongolia / China, is about eight times larger than this leading Mongolian cashmere producer, indicating Mongolia's domestic cashmere manufacturing industry has significant upside potential.
During my visit I also took the opportunity to meet the company's CFO and after signing various documents collected the 2015 dividend for the Fund.
Asia Frontier Capital's CEO Thomas Hugger receiving AFC Asia Frontier Fund's 2015 dividend
Later that day I met with the President and CEO of another top performing Mongolian company and a rising star in AFC Asia Frontier Fund's portfolio: Erdene Resources Development Corp. (OTCPK:ERDCF)-a gold and copper explorer listed in Canada. Having seen its shares appreciate 212% year-to-date thanks to fantastic drill results (of up to 49 grams per ton of gold), meetings with such companies tend to carry a more "relaxed" tone when everybody is happy and making money.
Unfortunately, the next day reality set back in when I met with two concrete producers and a construction materials company. These companies have not only been struggling because of a weak property market, but are also exposed to a collapsing construction sector since a government stimulus plan to subsidize mortgages from the high teens and low 20's to 8% for apartment buyers has hit road bumps. En route to these companies, I passed by one of the four coal-fired power plants in the city casting a somewhat ominous view of Mongolia's future. Below is a photo of Power Station #3 which generates 198 MW power through operation of nine coal-fired boilers which is certainly not the most attractive visual:
Ulaanbaatar Power Plant #3
As can be seen in the background, the sun was shining; however, the emissions clouded the sky. These power plants make the "coldest capital city in the world" also the "most polluted capital city in the world" (worse than Beijing). With the lowest population density in the world at 1.92 people per square kilometre, this is an unfortunate situation for Mongolia.
Back to my three visits for the day, it was interesting to learn how these companies survive in a cash-strapped and sluggish economic environment. The two concrete producers, for example (like many of the other 140 concrete companies in UB) have resorted to using a "barter system" to get paid. This means that concrete is sold against payment of cars, trucks and unfinished apartments in lieu of cash, while other concrete producers are selling concrete against cash below production costs. Regarding the construction materials company, while their "bread and butter" had previously been selling infrastructure related materials to the road and public engineering industries, they have since shifted to focus on the manufacturing and sale of railway sleepers. With multiple new railway lines planned from the country's largest coal mine (Tavan Tolgoi) to the Chinese border and an eastward and westward railway expansion, it will be a coup for any company who wins a tender to supply these projects. Worrisome however is that as most of these projects are being financed by Chinese SOE's, it may result in the majority of these tenders being awarded to Chinese companies, as has been the case in other countries where China is implementing its "One Belt One Road" policy.
The next day I had the opportunity to meet the CEO of the Mongolian Stock Exchange "MSE" and to discuss with him the outlook of the MSE which has probably one of the lowest daily average turnovers of any stock exchange in the world (in August 2016 it was less than USD 6,300 per day)!
Trading floor of the Mongolian Stock Exchange "MSE" during trading hours
During my five-day trip, I also met with two property companies [one of them the Canadian listed Mongolia Growth Group Limited (OTCPK:MNGGF)], a brewery, an IT company, a tourist company, a coal mine and a milk company who all had their own daily issues and methods for surviving this difficult economic environment.
However, I would like to end this travel report - which was more about doom and gloom - with two positive notes. One positive development is the restart of the gigantic Oyu Tolgoi "OT" mine in the south of the country which is 66% owned by Turqouise Hill Resources [listed in New York (NYSE:TRQ)] [which is majority owned by Rio Tinto(NYSE:RIO) (OTCPK:RTPPF) (OTCPK:RTNTF)] and the remainder by the Mongolia Government. At full capacity, Oyu Tolgoi will be the third largest copper/gold mine in the world. For the second development phase of the mine an additional USD 6 billion needs to be invested for this underground construction (Phase I is "open pit") and this should help bolster the country's depleted foreign exchange reserves, create new jobs and more importantly send a message to other international mining companies that the country is "open for business" after all the issues since 2012 between the government and international mining companies. The second positive development is that international resource prices have bottomed out and are starting to rise, especially coal and gold, which are extremely important for the well-being of the Mongolian economy. For example the coal price for loading in Richards Bay, South Africa has more than doubled from the low on 27th December 2015 at USD 47.60 per ton to currently USD 97.45 per ton.
Consequently we have increased our exposure to Mongolian coal mining companies in the AFC Asia Frontier Fund through increasing an existing position and adding a new Mongolian coal mining company which is Mongolian Mining Corp. with main listing in Hong Kong [975 HK] and secondary listings under (OTCPK:MOGLF) and (OTC:MOGLY).
At last, there are some positives among the "gloom" in Mongolia and there is a good chance that the economy is bottoming out which should result in an upward revaluation in the currency and lead to higher share prices.
Investors interested to get exposure to Mongolia have various options:
- Investment through funds: FMG Mongolia Fund
- Investing in overseas listed companies with majority of its assets in Mongolia (in alphabetical order and not complete):
Altan Rio Minerals (OTC:ATANF) - Canada listed
Aspire Mining (OTC:ASPXF) - Australia listed
Centerra Gold (OTCPK:CAGDF) - Canada listed
East Asia Minerals Corp (OTCPK:EAIAF) - Canada listed
Entree Gold Inc (NYSEMKT:EGI) - NY listed
Erdene Resources Development Corp - Canada listed
Haranga Resources [HAR] - Australia listed
Khot Infrastructure Holdings [KOT] - Canada listed
Kincora Copper Limited (OTC:BZDLF) - Canada listed
Mongolia Growth Group - Canada listed
Mongolia Mining & - Hong Kong listed
Petro Matad (OTCPK:PRTDF) - London listed
Prophecy Development Corp (OTCPK:PRPCF) - Canada listed
South Gobi Resources (OTC:SGQRF) - Hong Kong listed
Tourquoise Hill Resources - NY listed
Wolf Petroleum [WOF] - Australia listed
Xanadu Mines (OTC:XANAF) - Australia listed
Disclosure: I am/we are long ERDCF, MOGLF, MOGLY, MNGGF, PRTDF, ATANF, BZDLF.
I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.
November 14 (MSE) --
November 14 (MSE) Mongolian Stock Exchange organized 5 securities trading sessions and made transaction of MNT2.0 billion with daily average transaction of MNT10,311,194,238.00 in period between 07 November 2016 and 11 November 2016.
146,213.00 shares of 38 joint stock companies worth of MNT67,487,598.00 were traded.
Most actively traded securities
Most active brokerage companies
Government retail bonds trading:
100,000 Government retail bonds worth of MNT10,000,000,000.00 traded through one trading session.
Most active brokerage companies for Government securities trading
Daewoo Securities Mongolia
2,688 government retail bonds traded on secondary market of Government securities trading and total of 243,706,640.00 transaction has been made.
Daewoo Securities Mongolia
As of 11 November 2016, market capitalization was MNT1,302,021,769,820.42 which indicated decreased of 2.01% and MSE ALL index reached 768.69 units which indicated decreased of 1.66% from the previous week.Novel investment
November 15 (Cover Mongolia) NSO didn't bother to publish anything in English.
Link to release (in Mongolian)
Reds are when MNT fell, greens when it rose. Bold reds are rates that set a new historic high at the time.
USD (blue), CNY (red) vs MNT in last 1 year:
November 14 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 43 billion at a weighted interest rate of 15.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/
November 14 (Bank of Mongolia) Auction for 12 weeks maturity Government Treasury bill was announced at face value of 35.0 billion MNT. Face value of 10.0 billion /out of 10.0 billion bid/ Government Treasury bill was sold at discounted price and with weighted average yield of 16.995 %.
By Michael Kohn
November 14 (Bloomberg) -- Mongolia's total revenue and grants to the general govt budget in January-October were 4.5t tugrik, compared with total expenditure and net lending of 6.8t tugrik, for a budget deficit of 2.3t tugrik ($1b), according to a release from the National Statistics Office.
* NOTE: Average MNT/USD exchange rate in October was 2307
* NOTE: Balance in yr-earlier period showed a deficit of $459.4 million
* Total expenditure and net lending increased 24% y/y
* Jan.-Oct. trade data: Total external trade turnover reached $7b, a decline of 8.4% compared with same period yr ago
* $957.7m surplus in first 10 months of 2016 compares with $762.9m surplus yr earlier
* Exports fell 5.1% y/y to $3.7b in October
* Imports declined 12.5% y/y to $2.8b in October
* October CPI fell 1.2% m/m, 0.8% yoy
* Money supply reached 11.5t tugrik at the end of October, an increase of 16.2% from a year ago
* Principle in arrears reached 886.7b at the end of October, a 12.4% increase m/m and a 3% increase y/y
Ulaanbaatar, November 14 (MONTSAME) In October, Mongolia traded with 157 countries. The overall trade turnover amounted to USD 6,994.6 million, of which 3,726.2 million was constituted by exports and 2,768.4 million – by imports.
The overall trade turnover decreased by USD 595.8 million or 8.4 percent compared to that for the last year. In specific, exports fell by USD 200.5 million or 5.1 percent and imports –by 395.3 million or 12.5 percent.
The external trade balance rose to USD 957.7 million against the same period of last year, by USD 149.8 million.
November 14 (UB Post) Parliament approved a draft of the 2017 state budget, 2017's state budget framework, the 2017 budget for the Social Insurance Fund, and an overview of fiscal policy from 2018 to 2019. According to the 2017 state budget, revenue is expected to be 23.3 percent of GDP, expenditure is expected to be 32.3 percent of GDP, and deficit is expected to be 9.1 percent of GDP.
Cabinet expects to reach economic growth of three percent in 2017 by moving forward on mining megaprojects. The Government of Mongolia says that taxes will not be increased, to help create stability in the tax environment. Cabinet is aiming to improve infrastructure in the mining sector and to generate budget revenue by developing construction and investment to accelerate megaprojects.
The state's administrative expenses (salaries and other asset expenses) will be cut by one percent in 2017. Changes to administrative regulations have also been proposed, including allowing administrators to have more flexible authority concerning spending, and allowing them more authority in making hiring and firing decisions to encourage more efficient expenditure and more effective public service.
Funds to promote health, sports, arts, and culture have been included in the 2017 and welfare and education programs did not see significant budget cuts. People 65 years and older will be eligible to receive 50,000 to 200,000 MNT (depending on their age) as financial aid during Tsagaan Sar and the Naadam festival, and 20.5 billion MNT has been budgeted to provide seniors with financial assistance.
The 89.5 billion MNT has been budgeted for a onetime payment of retirement allowances for employees and officers retiring from the public sector to maintain their welfare aids.
The state will provide 104.5 billion MNT to finance student loans, and 14.5 billion MNT has been budgeted for scholarships for students who have been accepted to the world's top universities. Nine billion MNT has also been included in the 2017 budget for the operational and training costs of private and public polytechnic colleges. Cash allowances in the amount of 161.5 billion MNT will be distributed to targeted groups of children in 2017. Five billion MNT for childcare has been allocated in the 2017 budget of the Ministry of Labor and Welfare Protection to help continue childcare service programs.
The salaries of state prosecutors will be increased with state budget funding of 9.5 billion MNT, and the budget of the Constitutional Court included an additional 341.8 million MNT for salary increases for judges in 2017. According to the 2017 budget, the state will only fund critical projects in education and healthcare, and repairs for heating pipes requiring upgrades in Ulaanbaatar will be funded. The operating expenses of state organizations will be cut from 10 to 100 percent, depending on their duties.
Expenditures for a number of state-funded programs and events will be reduced by 410 billion MNT. The state will not fund any new construction projects through concession agreements in 2017. Parliament approved reducing the quantity of domestic bonds issued, subject to budget deficit, and says it will promote economic growth by ensuring the effective spending of foreign loans and aid, and funding only cost effective projects. A measure to reduce interest expenses to 2016 levels by using more optimal methods of debt control was also approved by Parliament.
· Infrastructure is key to ending slump, foreign minister says
· Government cutting spending, is in talks with IMF for help
By Michael Kohn
November 14 (Bloomberg) In the face of the current crisis, Mongolia cut spending and requested support from the IMF. To turn the economy around, the new government aims to lure foreign money to pay for stalled infrastructure and mining projects.
"It's important to not only talk the talk, but to walk the walk, and that's what we intend to do,'' Foreign Minister Munkh-Orgil Tsend, said last week in Ulaanbaatar. "By end of the first half of next year we will have brought in most of the investment projects that have been in the pipeline for many years, including Tavan Tolgoi,'' he said, referring to Mongolia's largest coking coal deposit.
The crisis began after prices for Mongolia's commodity exports fell and the budget deficit expanded. Disputes with foreign investors such as Rio Tinto Group also delayed spending on new mining projects and investment collapsed, hitting tax revenues, growth and the currency.
The tugrik has fallen 19 percent this year, reaching an all-time low of 2479 to the dollar last week. The budget deficit is also widening - with the shortfall at $905 million in the first nine months of this year, compared to $435 million in the same period a year ago.
Development of Tavan Tolgoi includes the construction of a 240-kilometer long railway from the mine site to the Chinese border, as well as coal-handling preparation plant, plus power and water supply facilities. The government is planning talks this month with China Shenhua Energy Co., part of a consortium of companies tapped to develop the mine, according to Ganbat Dangaa, the roads and transport minister.
The talks have been delayed for more than a year after the previous government failed to win backing from Parliament for a deal with the consortium. If talks fail again, the government will "have to invite another bidder for the project,'' said Munkh-Orgil.
An IMF program, which could be in place by February, may be followed by bilateral loan agreements from partner countries including China and Japan, the foreign minister said. An IMF program is considered a stopgap measure before big foreign investment projects can move forward, said Munkh-Orgil.
In addition to Tavan Tolgoi, Munkh-Orgil said he supports cooperating with China in its One Belt One Road initiative. Mongolia's parallel project, the Steppe Initiative, envisions five economic corridors running across Mongolia linking China to Russia with highways, railroads and pipelines.
"We are working with Chinese and Russian partners to develop these projects. We see ourselves as a bridge, as a nation that can bring others together,'' said Munkh-Orgil. "It's an important issue and we want to be part of it, we want to benefit from it.''
"We are looking to create a fiscal political regime that is both stable and attractive to both foreign and domestic investors,'' Munkh-Orgil said. "If we have some long-term policy agreement with the IMF and then major projects are set in motion, that would be the biggest advertisement'' for the nation, he said.
* Copper adds to last week's double-digit gains
* Trump building plan boost fades
* Zinc near five-year high (Updates throughout, adds closing prices)
LONDON, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Copper built on last week's double-digit percentage gains on Monday after infrastructure spending in top metals consumer China came in ahead of expectations though some analysts said the rally looked overdone.
Zinc and lead also climbed.
Official Chinese data showed that fixed-asset investment quickened slightly in January-October as the government stepped up spending to support growth.
Benchmark copper closed 0.4 percent higher at $5,569 a tonne after recording its best week since 2011 with an 11.2 percent gain, a rally that was also buoyed by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's promises of infrastructure spending.
The meteoric rise of copper last week, which was up 20 percent at one point, was not justified by fundamentals and the metal used mostly in power and construction was due to retreat, analysts said.
"The news out of China this morning was broadly positive but not strong enough to spark a renewed rally," Capital Economics senior commodities economist Caroline Bain said.
"A Trump-related rally in the price is not credible at all. We have to wait until he takes office and see how many of his plans will go through," she said, adding that copper was due for a pullback as it had risen too fast.
Trump vowed to boost domestic spending to fix inner cities and rebuild highways and roads, pushing up industrial commodities markets.
"There was a bit of a knee-jerk reaction last week after Trump won. It's rallied a bit too fast, too soon without the fundamentals changing," ETF Securities commodities strategist Nitesh Shah said.
Traders said the rise in China's fixed-asset investment had helped offset weaker industrial output and retail sales figures, reported by the National Bureau of Statistics.
Zinc rose 5.5 percent to $2,607 per tonne, near to a five-year high hit on Friday. Zinc is a key rust retardant used in steel galvanising.
The metal is up about 55 percent in 2016 as supply dwindles.
Lead rose 4 percent to finish at $2,195 per tonne, its highest close since September 2014.
Aluminum fell 0.6 percent to $1,735 per tonne. Tin slipped 2.6 percent to $20,830 a tonne and nickel edged down 0.4 percent to $11,260.
Copper to enter 'substantial' supply deficit starting from 2021: Sonami – Reuters, November 14
Rio Tinto 'cautiously optimistic' about copper market in short term – Reuters, November 14
Trump's Victory Isn't Only Thing Behind Copper Rally – Wall Street Journal, November 14
November 14 (Business Insider Australia) Chinese bulk commodity futures are going nuts. Again.
Following the release of robust Chinese industrial output and urban fixed asset investment figures for October on Monday, iron ore and coking coal futures have taken flight, hitting their daily "limit up" levels before easing slightly in recent trade.
The most actively traded January 2017 iron ore future on the Dalian Commodities Exchange closed the morning session at 626.5 yuan, up 3.98% from Friday's closing level.
It briefly traded as high as 656.5 yuan, a level not seen since mid-August 2014. The contract has now rallied 118% since mid-December last year.
Should the strength in futures persist, it suggests that the benchmark spot price may sail above the $US80 a tonne level when it is released later in the session.
It closed up 7.7% at $US79.81 a tonne on Friday, according to Metal Bulletin, extending its gain in 2016 to 83.2%.
Coking coal futures are also putting in a stonking performance, sitting up 5.4% at 1,621 yuan.
It rose to as high as 1,676 earlier in the session, the highest level on record.
From the lows of earlier this year it has gained 208%, actually lagging the move in spot markets, which has been even larger.
As is usual for extreme moves in Chinese commodity futures, the reasons for the rally are numerous yet definitive.
Some point to the rebound in Chinese fixed asset investment in October, along with an acceleration in crude steel output, as fundamental factors underpinning the move.
However, futures were already flying ahead of the release, suggesting it may be partly driven by other factors, including continued weakness in the Chinese yuan.
Earlier this month, analysts at Goldman Sachs suggested that around 60% of the rally in iron ore prices during October was driven by weakness in the yuan.
The basis for this slightly usual view stems from a noticeable pickup in volumes traded in Chinese futures, something that corresponded with renewed weakening in the yuan.
Goldman says that a limited choice of US dollar-denominated assets in China may be leading some investors to buy commodity futures to protect against further weakening in the yuan.
And the analysts think that trend can continue.
"With ample onshore money supply chasing a limited menu of accessible dollar-linked assets, continued CNY depreciation means that [futures] prices may stay above what the fundamental demand and supply suggest in coming months," they said.
Chinese Speculators Shake Up Global Commodity Markets – Wall Street Journal, November 14
Iron ore surges, but producers wary – Sydney Morning Herald, November 14
* Spot gold may find support at $1,204-$1,210/oz -technicals
* Silver hits over 5-month low
* US bond yields hit their highest level since January
* SPDR Gold holdings down 0.8 percent on Friday
Nov 14 (Reuters) Gold narrowed losses in Asian trade on Monday after earlier falling as much as 1 percent to hit its lowest in more than five months, pressured by a stronger U.S. dollar and expectations the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in December.
Spot gold was down 0.1 percent at $1,224.68 an ounce by 0728 GMT. The metal fell 1 percent to $1,212.26 an ounce earlier in the session - its lowest since June 3.
U.S. gold futures were unchanged at $1,224.00 per ounce.
The dollar rose to a nine-month high against a basket of major peers on Monday as the risk of faster domestic inflation and wider budget deficits sent Treasury yields ever higher.
Yields on the U.S. 10-year Treasury notes climbed to their highest since January on Monday at 2.20 percent.
A broad sell-off in global commodities and surging bond yields had seen the metal dipping nearly 3 percent on Friday.
"What we're seeing today is the continuation of long liquidation going through the market," said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.
"People seem to have unwound their Trump-risk and are now talking more about 'Trumpflation', with Trump's fiscal policies that he wants to enact with all this infrastructure that would push up inflation and that would push up borrowing rates and yields in the States," Halley said.
The market is also betting on the Federal Reserve raising interest rates more quickly. The metal is highly sensitive to rising U.S. interest rates, which can lift the opportunity cost of holding non-interest-bearing gold.
"The rate hike in December is an absolute done deal now," Halley added.
Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer said on Friday that U.S. economic growth prospects appear strong enough for the Fed to proceed with a gradual increase in interest rates.
"We are still negative on gold short-term in light of a stronger dollar, rising rates and rising equities," said INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir.
SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.76 percent to 934.56 tonnes on Friday.
Spot gold may find support in a zone of $1,204-$1,210 per ounce and bounce moderately before falling, as suggested by its wave pattern and a Fibonacci ratio analysis, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.
Silver rose 0.14 percent to $17.36 an ounce. Earlier in the session, it touched its worst since June 9 at $17.00.
Platinum was up 0.7 percent at $677.40.
November 14 (news.mn) The Mongolian Parliament (State Great Khural) has approved the proposal for the 2017 budget presented by the cabinet One of the key features of the proposal, which was submitted on Thursday (10th of November), is the plan to privatise six state-owned enterprises valuing a total of MNT159.6billion, namely:
- The State Bank for MNT 75billion
- The Mongolian Stock Exchange for MNT 20billion
- Orgil Sanatorium Resort for MNT 7billion
- Telecom Mongolia for MNT 7.6billion
- Erdenet Bulgan electric distribution network for MNT 30billion.
According to the Deputy Minister of Finance, 70% of state-owned enterprises are operating at a loss.
Ulaanbaatar, November 14 (MONTSAME) Minister of Foreign Affairs Ts.Munkh-Orgil received on Friday the Permanent Representative of the UN Population Fund to Mongolia, Naomi Kitahara. The latter gave detailed information on the ongoing UNFPA-assisted projects and the Country Program to be launched in 2017.
In turn, the FM presented the Government policies and actions towards the social development, and informed that the cabinet is about to submit a draft new wording of the Law Against Domestic Violence to the Parliament.
The Foreign Minister put forward a request to the UNFPA for assistance on youth development and education.
The Country Program for Mongolia for 2017-2021 was adopted at the UNFPA Executive Council meeting, which took place on September 6-7 in New York. For the next five years, the UNFPA will implement projects and programs totaling USD 15.1 million, aimed at improving reproductive health and protection of reproductive rights, youth development and gender equality.
November 14 (gogo.mn) 23080 crimes were recorded in the first 10 months of 2016, a decrease of 243 offences compared to the same period in 2015 at national level.
This decrease was driven by falls in economic crimes by 383 (67.0%), crimes against the rules of safety of traffic and use of motor vehicle by 230 (13.0%), crimes against public security by 115 (8.4%) and crimes against environmental protection rules by 53 (26.8%).
In October 2016, total of 2243 crimes were registered. This is a decrease by 427 crimes (16.0%) from the same period of the previous year and by 86 crimes (3.7%) from the previous month respectively.
As a result of crimes occurred in the first 10 months of 2016, a total amount of financial damages was 150 billion tugrik.
Within the reporting period 9486 persons were injured and 779 died.
1. Former PM N. Altankhuyag announces run for President
2. Tugrik tumbles
3. SOE Sell-Off
4. Changing Steppes
5. Miners Saved in Nalaikh
Ulaanbaatar, November 14 (MONTSAME) As representatives of Mongolia, the MIAT, Juulchin, Tsolmon Travel, Ailaas Ailuud Project, DMD Mongol, Great Chingis Expedition, Zendmen Travel, New Juulchin and Discovery Mongolia participated in the World Trade Market 2016 exhibition in London, on November 7-9.
During the exhibition, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia, Mr N.Tulga organized a reception for the representatives of Mongolian tourism sector. The president of Mongolian Travel Association, Mr D.Gantomor extended gratitude to the diplomatic mission in London for their consistent and tangible support for increasing the flow of tourists to Mongolia.
Mr Gantomor had a meeting with the organizers of the Fly Fishing, John Kelly and Clare Zumbini to discuss opportunities for ensuring the presence of Mongolian participants in the next exhibitions and to introduce the environmentally friendly type of fishing in Mongolia.
November 14 (news.mn) Mongolians actively participated in a bicycle parade held in Ulaanbaatar on Sunday (13th of November) to remember those who died or were injured in road accidents. The event was organised by the Mongolian Youth Federation and Traffic Police Authority of Mongolia. The parade started from Sukhbaatar square and finished at the western cross roads.
The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims (WDR) takes place on the second Sunday in November every year.
November 14 (UB Post) The Youth Involvement in Gandan's Development Forum was organized by the Gandan Youth Union NGO on November 11. The meeting was supported by the Metropolitan Ger District Infrastructure Development Department.
The purpose of the forum was to discuss the current status of the monastery and its surrounding residential and commercial areas, and ways to improve the area's infrastructure. Representatives from the Mayor's Office reported on the city's current policies and future projects and plans for the residents of the Gandan area.
Mayor S.Batbold said, "Our urban restructuring plan is divided between the ger district and old apartments. Today's meeting is regarding the re-planning of the Gandan area. Gandan is very much connected to the origin of Mongolia, it has also become our country's religious and cultural center. Other countries have turned their cultural and religious centers into large tourism and economic zones. We are planning to turn Gandan into a religious and cultural center in the future. We prioritize the involvement of residents in this initiative and that is the main purpose of today's meeting."
The Mayor went on to highlight that the Mayor's Office is working to bring the infrastructure of ger districts up to modern standards. He said that his office will be cooperating with Asian Development Bank in Spring 2017 to develop infrastructure in every district.
Gandan Monastery is located in the Bayangol District, with 7,638 residents and 100 businesses operating in the area.
Ulaanbaatar, November 14 (MONTSAME) A ceremony for signingg a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation between Mongolia's ancient capital – Kharkhorin and Italy's first capital city – Turin was held on November 9 in Turin.
The MoU was signed by the Governor of Kharkhorin soum of Uvurkhangai province, Mr L.Enkhbat and the Mayor of Turin, the capital of Pimonte comune, Ms Chiara Appendino. Present were, the Mongolian Ambassador to the Republic of Italy Ts.Jambaldorj.
The Ambassador held a meeting with the Turin Mayor and exchanged views on the further cooperation between Mongolia's ancient city and Pimonte of Italy.
Also, Ambassador Ts.Jambaldorj, Governor L.Enkhbar and curator of the Erdenezuu Museum of Kharkhorin G.Tumurbaatar ceremoniously opened a photographic exhibition about the museum in the Oriental Arts Museum of Turin. The exhibition will last for 2 weeks.
November 14 (UB Post) Foreign Affairs Minister Ts.MunkhOrgil met with a number of foreign delegations last week to discuss cooperation in education, development, the economy, and investment.
Resident Representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to Mongolia Naomi Kitahara was received by Foreign Affairs Minister Ts.Munkh-Orgil on Friday. Kitahara spoke with the Minister in detail about ongoing and upcoming projects and programs led by the UNFPA.
Minister Ts.Munkh-Orgil introduced Kitahara to the policies and programs in social development the government is working to implement, and stated that Parliament is planning to review an amended version of the Law to Combat Domestic Violence soon. He asked her to work with the government and to help support promoting youth development and education. The UNFPA will implement a 15 million USD program to improve reproductive health, youth development, and gender equality in Mongolia over the next four years.
The Foreign Affairs Minister met with State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Austria Michael Linhart on November 11 to discuss relations and cooperation between the two countries. The sides also discussed increasing the number of Austrain scholarship grantees, training Mongolian diplomats in Austria, and dealing with the challenges Mongolians have faced when applying for an Austrian visa.
Minister Ts.Munkh-Orgil underlined that the Government of Mongolia is concentrating on overcoming economic difficulties, and that developing economic cooperation is of mutual interest to the two countries. He thanked the Government of Austria for including a soft loan of 40 million EUR in the financial cooperation agreement between the governments of Mongolia and Austria.
Foreign Affairs Minister Ts.Munkh-Orgil also received Ambassador of Qatar to Mongolia Sultan Al-Mansur, who is based out of Beijing, to exchange views on Mongolian and Qatari relations and cooperation. Ts.Munkh-Orgil noted that relations between the two countries have increased.
He highlighted that carrying out high-level visits, developing economic cooperation, and pursuing Qatari investments in Mongolia are of importance to developing mutual cooperation. Ambassador Al-Mansur said that Qatar has studied investing in Mongolia, and that enhancing the legal and regulatory environment for foreign investors and entrepreneurs is important.
He pointed out that launching a direct flight between Doha and Ulaanbaatar could help develop tourism and improve people-to-people relations. He also added that cultural events and exhibitions about Mongolia have been regularly held in Qatar.
November 14 (Norway News) Mongolian MP, L.Munkhbaatar MP has attended a business forum of the Norway-Mongolia Friendship Community, which has taken place in Oslo.
The business forum aimed at boosting business cooperation and drawing more investment to Mongolia through various projects.
He presented some information on the current political, social and economic situation and foreign policy of Mongolia.
The business forum was attended by the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to the Kingdom of Norway Z.Altai, Minister-Counsellor E.Bulgan, Economic Advisor B.Battsetseg and the head of the Norway-Mongolia Friendship Community Rolf Amundsen.
He went to Kautokeino village of Norway at the invitation of the Association of World Reindeer herders.
During the visit, the sides signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in improving livelihoods of reindeer herders and providing more opportunities to children from the reindeer herding families to study with scholarships in Norway and other Scandinavian countries.
The students are able to choose various fields for majoring such as reindeer farming, biological and traditional knowledge, food culture, linguistics and English language studies. Also, in accordance with the MoU, the sides decided to launch a TV reality show featuring the lives and businesses of reindeer herding communities.
The authorities agreed to establish sisterhood ties between Kautokieno village and Tsagaannuur soum of Khuvsgul province, and to provide assistance in increasing the population of reindeers in Mongolia by localizing herds of reindeers from Siberia.
In Kautokeino, more than 3,000 "sami" locals are living and herding some 700 thousand reindeers.
Ulaanbaatar, November 14 (MONTSAME) L.Munkhbaatar MP is visiting Kautokeino village of Norway at the invitation of the Association of World Reindeer herders. During the visit, the sides signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in improving livelihoods of reindeer herders and providing more opportunities to children from the reindeer herding families to study with scholarships in Norway and other Scandinavian countries.
The students are able to choose various fields for majoring such as reindeer farming, biological and traditional knowledge, food culture, linguistics and English language studies. Also, in accordance with the MoU, the sides decided to launch a TV reality show featuring the lives and businesses of reindeer herding communities.
The authorities agreed to establish sisterhood ties between Kautokieno village and Tsagaannuur soum of Khuvsgul province, and to provide assistance in increasing the population of reindeers in Mongolia by localizing herds of reindeers from Siberia.
In Kautokeino, more than 3,000 "sami" locals are living and herding some 700 thousand reindeers.
Charlie and Lola author Lauren Child: 'How adopting a little girl from Mongolia made my life complete'
- Lauren Child always thought she would give birth or adopt a baby
- She adopted her daughter Tuesday four years ago from Mongolia
- Her friends told her: 'things will rapidly improve the more love a child gets'
November 13 (Daily Mail) Growing up, I always thought I would give birth to a child, but I always thought I'd adopt as well. So when I finally adopted my daughter, Tuesday, four years ago, it wasn't second best. I hadn't minded which way it happened — adoption or birth child.
For years, people had asked me lots of questions about why I didn't have children: Was I going to have them? Was I going to get married?
I was asked these questions when I was with one partner, then when I was on my own. It's hard to face those questions if you really do want to have children. It's intrusive.
Of course, you're much more likely to be asked if you want children if you're an author of children's books, as I am. My Charlie And Lola and Clarice Bean books had become quite popular, and people seemed to be surprised that I wasn't a mother — as though it wasn't possible to write for children without having had any.
It's almost as though there's something wrong with you if you either don't have them or don't want them.
I was around 41 when I decided to go down the adoption route as a single woman. I was dating Adrian, my partner, at the time — he is now my daughter Tuesday's legal father — but it was something I did very much on my own.
It was just where Adrian and I were at the time — dating, rather than living together as we are now — and, of course, adoption is a big decision to make.
None of my friends thought for a minute: 'How is she going to cope?' Everyone was incredibly supportive, especially my family. I told myself that people cope in far trickier circumstances than I was in — and so I knew I could do it.
It helped that I had no doubts. I knew I wanted a child more than anything else. I was driven by that. There were times when I wished I was the kind of person who didn't really mind not having a child. But I did really mind. I felt 'I have to do this'.
Going through the process of getting Tuesday was like a job in itself. It took five years and was very up and down. Writing Ruby Redfort, my teen detective series, helped, but I was very anxious most of the time. You are worrying about it all the time.
So much of your headspace is taken up with 'Should I be phoning someone? Should I be filling out a form?' and generally being on edge. You don't know if it is ever going to happen. The unknown is so difficult. And the wait — it's a very long wait.
Adopting in Britain was not possible for me because, in this country, it's difficult to do it as a single woman.
They also like to match you with a child who is culturally the same and, in a place like London, where the children are ethnically diverse, this was another difficulty. My age also counted against me. It wasn't for want of trying to adopt in Britain, but it just wasn't possible.
Actually, I really didn't mind where I adopted from, but there are only so many countries where you can.
I hadn't even considered adopting from Mongolia, but I went there in 2008 as part of my work as an Artist for Peace with Unesco. The people I was working with were so lovely, I started asking questions about whether I would be able to.
I was overwhelmed by the support I got there. There was no tutting and saying: 'You shouldn't adopt a child from our country and take her to your country.' They made me think: 'I'm right to do this.'
The adoption process took four years — almost the same time as it would have done in Britain. Finally, in 2012, I got a call to say that I'd been matched with a little girl.
Tuesday was in a care centre. When I went there to pick her up, a nurse walked past me holding this beautiful little girl with plaits. She was about two-and-a-half. I thought: 'Oh, imagine if she was my daughter! I'd be over the moon.'
And then the nurse returned and I was handed her and told: 'This is your daughter!'
She sat in my lap and was silent. Funnily enough, she looked a bit like Lola from Charlie And Lola. My Mongolian friends said: 'We think you drew her, Lauren!'
It was an extraordinary experience. The whole thing felt surreal. And then, after all the paperwork is signed, you go home together.
The flights home — two, including a stopover in Seoul — were traumatic. There was a lot of screaming and not much sleep.
I counted every minute of those 15 hours in the air. I have never been so relieved to step off any form of transport.
By the time I walked through immigration, I was unable to speak without tears rolling down my cheeks. The tough-looking man behind the desk was very nice and started chatting to me in such a kind way that I lost it completely. But I kept thinking: 'If I find this traumatic, what on earth must she be feeling?' Back home in London, Tuesday never wanted me to leave her side. She had to sleep with me and often slept on my head. Sleep was not sleep any more. It was lying on the floor and dozing.
Adapting was hard for her. I just wanted to make it better for her, for her to be all right, but I also knew that it was going to take time.
That was the hardest thing. No one could fix it immediately.
Adrian and my friends were incredible and, actually, although everything wasn't perfect — we would have tantrums, all normal, but with fostering or adoption you don't necessarily know what the cause is — Tuesday is an amazing child and everyone adored her.
When she was four, I suddenly saw that everything was totally different from how it had been. It had all got so much better, but the process had been so gradual.
When I look back, it's hard to believe that Tuesday is the same child as the one I brought back on the plane. And that's what my Mongolian friends had told me: things will rapidly improve the more love a child gets.
Adrian is very involved in the parenting. He takes Tuesday to school most mornings, and I am lucky I can work from home.
Now that she's at school, she tells people she's half English and whole Mongolian. That's her way of describing it, not mine.
She loves to draw and, often, after I have picked her up from school, she will come with me to the room where I do my illustrating and work alongside me.
I'm working on an illustrated book on dogs and she's drawing the dogs for me. With my last book, she coloured in some numbers so beautifully that I used them as the endplate.
I am always talking about nature and nurture with my friends. I think so much of who you are is already in you. Obviously, it can be drawn out, but there are things that are just in us.
Tuesday is just like me when I was a child: totally passionate about drawing — it's something we can do together. They chose very well for me because there could not be a child I love more. I mean, she's perfect. I can't imagine life without her.
As told to Louise Carpenter
Ruby Redfort: Blink And You Die, is published by HarperCollins Children's Books at £12.99.
November 13 (Herald-Mail Media) One of the purposes of the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts is to bring works of art from other cultures to Hagerstown.
Many of us might never be able to travel far beyond our own regions, but through works of art, we can experience other lands and people, and enrich our understanding of worlds and time periods beyond ours.
The museum just opened a stunning exhibition of drawings by Dutch artist Willem Dooijewaard (Dooyeward or Dooyewaard) (1892-1980), "Distant Journeys: Willem Dooijewaard's Drawings of Mongolia and Bali." They were made in the early 20th century, portraying Mongolia and Indonesia at that time.
Dooijewaard was a close friend of the founders of the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, Anna Brugh and William H. Singer Jr. Born in Amsterdam, the younger brother (by 16 years) of artist Jacob (Jaap) Dooijewaard, Willem studied art at the Amsterdam Arts and Crafts School. He and his brother met the Singers, who lived in Laren, Holland, an artists' colony. The four became close friends, and during World War I, when the Singers were exiled from Holland as foreigners, they invited the Dooijewaard brothers to join them at their home in neutral Olden, Norway.
During his 20s and 30s, Willem Dooijewaard followed his strong travel urge to "Go East Young Man!" and between 1913 and 1933, he traveled and lived in Indonesia, China, Mongolia, Japan and Tunisia. Dooijewaard walked from Darjeeling, India (elevation 6,700 feet) to Tibet in 1926, crossing the Himalayas. If Dooijewaard went to Lhasa, Tibet (elevation 11,995 feet), the trek would have covered 253 miles, and a climb of 5,295 feet in elevation. Today, no overland routes directly between Tibet and India are open to foreigners because the borders are highly restricted, so duplicating Dooijewaard's walk is not possible.
In this period of travel and art-making, Dooijewaard documented a way of life long passed, with horses, boats and one's own feet for transportation across rugged landscapes and sparsely settled regions, living off the land or sea, through nomadic herding or fishing, or living in small villages.
The 14 large-format drawings in the exhibition were made by Dooijewaard during his travels in Mongolia and Bali, and they capture his sense of adventure, as well as his portrayal of the people he encountered and their way of life. Clothing and housing were handmade with local materials, were artistically elaborate and beautifully decorated, and extremely exotic to the Western eye.
Such an adventurous spirit and outdoorsman's approach to seeing the world led to his unique art. On his 1919 trip to Indonesia, Dooijewaard met the Austrian painter Roland Strasser (1885-1974). Both artists depicted the people of Bali in traditional dress and engaged in dance, market selling and ceremonies.
Dooijewaard's Mongolian drawings included religious imagery such as a monastery, a temple, a portrayal of Lama Zain Jjabi and the carrying of the holy books. His drawings of everyday life show a caravan, a camp, a wrestling scene and a horse market. His Balinese drawings included a religious festival, temple, market scene and dance scene.
Dooijewaard's drawings, paintings and etchings found collectors upon his return to the West. Among his collectors were the Singers; they gave all 14 of the drawings in the exhibition to the museum at its founding.
In 1906, the Dutch invaded Bali, asking for the Balinese royalty to surrender. Instead, some 200 Balinese fought and died, rather than suffer the humiliation of surrender. Afterward, the Dutch governors exercised administrative control over the island, but local control over religion and culture continued. Bali became known in the West as the "Dutch East Indies." Dutch rule continued until World War II, when the Japanese invaded Bali.
In the 1930s, Western anthropologists, artists, writers and musicians spent time in Bali and portrayed it as a paradisaical place. In 1911, when the Qing Dynasty of China ended its rule, which included Mongolia, there were some 700 monasteries in Mongolia, and 21 percent of the population were monks.
Over the subsequent two decades, Mongolia was in a power struggle between declaring its independence and being invaded by Russia and China. In 1924, the "Mongolia Peoples Republic" was established, and widespread destruction of the monasteries began.
The tradition of "exotic" or "Orientalist" art reached a peak of enthusiastic art collecting in Europe at the end of the 19th century. Artists such as Delacroix and Matisse portrayed North African people and places, and the French Impressionists collected the color woodblock prints and ceramics of Japan and used them as source material for their paintings.
Europe's taste for the exotic surged with colonialism, and Dooijewaard continued the tradition of artists capturing exotic subjects for Western collectors. Unlike some of his predecessors' art, which could be voyeuristic, condescending or even chauvinist, Dooijewaard's depictions of "the other"— the people and places of the foreign culture — are journalistic, respectful and use a documentary point of view. The people are shown to be dignified; their ceremonies and activities were important and strongly impacted the young artist.
The importance of the subject matter is greatly enhanced by Dooijewaard's technique; his drawings are made in charcoal and conte on gray paper, creating a vivid effect. While his academic style of drawing accurately captures figures, architecture, details of costume, and his compositions provide the viewpoint of an outsider and onlooker, the color of the paper and the drawing materials add further distance and prevent the work from seeming too realistic.
For today's viewer, numbed by images of everything from everywhere via the internet, understanding the enormous impact of seeing the things Dooijewaard saw in person, and captured in his drawings, is a refreshing, unique and strongly original experience. For Dooijewaard, a Western visitor to Mongolia and Bali in the early 20th century, the opportunity to experience what he has shared in his drawings would have been rare.
Exposure to works of art has been shown to increase a viewer's understanding and tolerance of others, to awaken one's critical thinking, and to enhance and enrich one's life experience.
An unsolved mystery about the Dooijewaard drawings bothers me: An internet search for the title of Dooijewaard's drawing "Monastery Near Ufasutait, Mongolia," brings no matches; nor does the name Ufasutait. Has the name or spelling changed or the use of the buildings? Has the monastery been repurposed? Has the place been absorbed into another with a different name? Is the monastery gone?
I invite you to join me in an exploration at the museum. Take a journey to Mongolia and Bali of the 1910s and 1920s through "Distant Journeys: Willem Dooijewaard's Drawings of Mongolia and Bali," and see what questions remain in your minds after you view the exhibition.
Rebecca Massie Lane is director of the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts.
If you go ...
WHAT: "Distant Journeys: Willem Dooijewaard's Drawings of Mongolia and Bali"
WHEN: Now through Sunday, Jan. 22; museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday
COST: Admission and parking are free
November 14 (gogo.mn) As of today at 9AM, sky has cleared up and snow storm has stopped in all aimags, reported by the National road transport center.
However, snow and dust storm is expected in East parts of Eastern aimags and West parts of Western aimags while the wind will reach 5-10 m/s, according to the weather forecast for today.
Therefore, residents are warned to be careful when driving to other aimags.
Road closures due to weather condition to aimags have ended today at 10AM.
Moreover, residents are recommended to serve by insured vehicles that made contract with National road transport center and ensured traffic safety when travelling out of the city.
By Catherine Arnold, British Ambassador to Mongolia
November 14 (FCO Blogs) Think of Mongolia, and you probably imagine impossibly open skies, the steppe flecked with horses and a solitary cluster of traditional gers (yurts). Mongolia is the least densely populated country in the world and one of exquisite natural beauty.
Sitting in central Ulaanbaatar, a buzzing city of 1.7 million inhabitants, it can be hard to believe that only three hours away, snow leopards haunt the mountains. In Ulaanbaatar, glass towers mould the skyscape around Mongolia's parliament, and shiny new hotels and shopping malls line the streets.
Mongolia's development has been driven by mining. It sits on vast mineral wealth, with over 6000 identified deposits of around 80 minerals. But despite the growth of the mining industry and the economy it fuels, Mongolia's extraordinary ecosystems are also a critical 'resource' and one that sits deeply within the Mongolian psyche.
Explain why the environment matters to most Mongolians and they look nonplussed. The importance of the land, and the animals and traditional way of life it supports, is so self-evident.
Mongolia's history in preserving wildlife
Mongolia was the first country in Asia to complete Red Lists (the globally recognised way of mapping species and their numbers) for all vertebrates. The national park south of Ulaanbaatar, founded in 1783, is the oldest legally protected nature reserve in the world. Mongolia has nearly 100 protected and strictly protected areas covering an area larger than the whole of the UK, and the most recent – to help preserve the critically endangered snow leopard – was agreed by parliament in April this year.
That doesn't mean to say that there aren't challenges: policy challenges; practical challenges; and public education challenges. Mongolia's fragile ecosystems are also particularly susceptible to climate change – desertification is visible, and a growing problem.
The UK is working with Mongolia on these challenges, from developing ways to ensure the financial viability of sustainable, traditional herding, to supporting the growth of renewable energy.
Mongolia is also the latest country to join the global movement against the Illegal Wildlife Trade, first started in London.
In 2014, the UK led ambitious international agreements on IWT as hosts of the ground-breaking London Conference. We have maintained that support during the 2015 Botswana conference, and are supporting Vietnam to host a third high level conference in November this year. HRH the Duke of Cambridge and Defra Secretary of State Andrea Leadsom, will attend – as will Mongolia.
The UK Government's Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund, worth £13m also supports governments and organisations around the world in their efforts to counter the illegal trade in wildlife.
Here in Mongolia the Zoological Society London (ZSL), through the IWT Challenge Fund, is working with the Mongolian Ministry of Environment & Tourism, and the Customs Authorities, on an innovative project to support understanding and combatting of the illegal wildlife trade.
The first step is data. The last country-wide household survey on illegal wildlife trading took place 10 years ago. It's hard for anyone to act if the scale and focus of the problem isn't known. The initial results show an interesting shift away from mammals, indicating that even in remote communities, Mongolians are aware of measures the Mongolian Government has taken to stem the illegal mammal trade.
The second is innovate work to support enforcement. Mongolia has layers of domestic and international legislation that prohibit or control the trade in endangered species.
But imagine being a customs official thousands of kilometres from the capital. Sometimes even knowing what animal the dried up pelt or paw once was can be a challenge. But you're also faced by aggressive trafficking networks, often twisting the law to mask or fraudulently legitimise their activities.
So, with the Mongolian Government, ZSL is addressing both of these. It's supporting training programmes to help with identification. And is developing an innovative software tool, that will enable prosecutors to type in the circumstances of what's been uncovered, and the relevant Mongolian laws that have been broken (if they have) will automatically appear, enabling a swift and robust legal response.
Tackling the illegal wildlife trade – why it matters
Let's stop for a moment. Many of you, like most Mongolians, possibly don't doubt the inherent value of conservation work for itself. But it's reasonable to question this. Why does preserving particular animals matter? Who cares whether snow leopard skins are illegally trafficked – isn't this a valid source of income for poor herders or the unemployed?
The short answer is that, like any illegal activity – and it's important to stress that in Mongolia, like much of the world, trafficking protected species is illegal – it doesn't just take iconic animals, such as the snow leopard, the saker falcon, and the taimen fish to extinction. It drives corruption. It undermines the laws that protect people and make a democracy, like Mongolia or the UK, work. It reinforces trafficking networks that, in some countries, also deal in people, arms and drugs.
But, in case you are still wondering about the poor herder who's trying to make ends meet, the illegal wildlife trade – like all illegal trafficking – extorts the poorest and supports the gang-leaders, many of whom, globally, will be dealing in more intuitively damaging trades (people, guns, drugs) and many of whom are not even based in the country that is being exploited.
Simply put, a snow leopard skin might gain a herder $100. But its final market value outside Mongolia, could be up to $5000.
When the animals are gone, the environment is irrevocably damaged, the opportunity for sustainable ways of man and animals benefiting – such as though lucrative ecotourism or legal capture – are destroyed, the trafficking network moves on, to plunder somewhere else.
Of course, there are challenges. Leopards kill livestock. Marmots have always been a traditional delicacy in Mongolia. Funding rangers is expensive. But the advantage of legal solutions and compromises is that they are transparent. Communities can be consulted and involved. The resources of a country are managed by that country and its people, and returned to them according to their laws. And those who seek to hide in the shadows and exploit for their own, often trans-national, financial gain are more effectively stopped.
Undermining the illegal wildlife trade, doesn't just matter to countries like Mongolia, which are home to beautiful, rare animals that sustain the illegal wildlife trade. In a global world, where illegal networks and black money stretch across countries and continents, it matters to all of us. Even those of us who don't really care about snow leopards.
 "Separate drivers of extinction such as habitat loss and over-exploitation (such as poaching and fishing) tend to work together to heighten the extinction probability of the species they affect more than the simple sum of the individual effects alone." Brook, BW, NS Sodhi, CJA Bradshaw. (2008) Synergies among extinction drivers under global change. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 23, 453-460
For more on the value of ecosystem services see https://www.cbd.int/financial/values/g-economicvalue-iucn.pdf
Ulaanbaatar, November 14 (MONTSAME) Children's "Bukhun" (Saiga antelope) and "Guyem" (Leopard cub) environmental activist clubs of Khovd province have launched a campaign several months ago against animal traps. They called for better protection for snow leopards, inhabiting in Jargalantkhairkhan Mountain.
The children have reportedly seen leopards been mutilated on videotapes from the control cameras, installed in some locations of Jargalantkhairkhan. According to the statistics, which was compiled from the information gathered by the children in frames of the campaign, there are about 500 animal traps in possession of livestock herding families, settling around Jargalantkhairkhan Mountain.
A sculpture made out of jaw traps, collected from Jargalantkhairkhan Mountain, Mankhan soum, Khovd province
The children came up with a positive and beneficial method to get rid of the traps that have not been set yet. They have been going from door to door to exchange the traps with useful gadgets needed for everyday life of herdsmen.
"We even met a man, who gave us 22 traps. Most of the locals fovar our campaign", the children have written in their letter to the former Minister of Environment N.Battsereg. The letter says, the clubs have collected 151 animal traps from the herders within the first two months of the campaign.
The campaign continues to recruit new supporters so far.
November 4 (Star TV Mongolia) --
November 14 (news.mn) Mongolian female weightlifter M.Ankhtsetseg has flown to Merida in Mexico for the World University Weightlifting Championships. The competition is taking place from 13th to 17th of November.
M.Ankhtsetseg set a new weightlifting record for Mongolia at the Rio Olympic Games. At the end of the 10 matches of Rio 2016 in August, M.Ankhtsetseg, who already holds gold and silver medals from world championships, was ranked eighth in the Women's Weightlifting 69 kg category.
November 14 (gogo.mn) The website to issue an online license/permit for recreational fishing is available in Mongolia. Currently, the trail run of the website issues online fishing permits at Onon and Balj rivers of Khentii aimag.
People should visit at www.ezagas.mn for fishing license or download the free applictation on Google Play (Android) or the App Store (iOS).
Ministry of Environment and Tourism of Mongolia, Environment and Tourism, and Department for Nature and Tourism of Khentii aimag, Governor's Office of Dadal, Norovlin, Bayan-Adraga, Binder, Batshireet soums, "Onon river fishing club" NGO who is responsible for game management of Onon river fishing location, and WWF Mongolia programme office have worked together in the pursuance to introduce and issue online license on fishing for household and recreational purposes in the game management area of Onon, Balj rivers at Khentii aimag.
Per fishing license is valid for three days and up to 10 fish species. However, people should insert the bio monitoring data of fish.
Visitors of a website are enabled to express their opinions and recommendations freely.
November 12 (Sailing Vessel Guiding Light) After four and a half days on the Trans-Mongolian train, my dad and I arrived at the train station in, Ulaanbaatar (Ulan Bator), Mongolia. Why? Well since we were riding the Trans-Siberian train across Russia and Mongolia was a short (24 hour) hop away, I figured this would be the best and easiest way to get into and see this country, which is considered the last truly nomadic country in the world.
As soon as we got off the train we were greeted by Ogie from Golden Gobi. As many of you can tell I usually shy away from using an organized tour group. Opting to explore on my own instead. Well here in Mongolia that is not very practical outside of the capital due to the lack of roads (I will talk about that tomorrow), hotels, and the different culture. I was lucky to find Golden Gobi who organized to have Sainka drive us and Alma be our English guide. We even shared the tour with a Brit by the name of Steve, which turned out to be a fantastic addition to our group and saved us money. Let me make it very clear that I cannot say enough good things about Ogie (her communication before the trip will put your mind at ease), Golden Gobi (fantastic hostel with showers, wifi, breakfast, and a welcoming atmosphere), Sainka (great sense of humor even with limited English and one bad ass off-road driver), and of course Alma (her knowledge of the history of her country and sense of humor, not to mention her perfect English with zero accent (I could swear she was taught in the USA and not self-taught in Mongolia), made the six days as varied, interesting, fun, and knowledgeable as possible)!!!!!!!
After getting checked in, showered, feed, and provisioned we all headed north towards Amarbayasgalant Monastery. As Dad and I got to know Steve, we drove 3 hours north on a paved road which was fast and smooth. I was thinking this is going to be a breeze all week. Haha the joke was on me as the last hour was 40 km on a dirt path that made each us feel like a James Bond martini…..shaken not stirred! And this was to one of the three most important monasteries in a mostly Buddhist country.
I found Amarbayasgalant Monastery to be a wonderful place and even if the entire compound looks like it needs some restoration the colors inside and out will leave you speechless as you try and come up with names for each color. This is the least visited monastery in the country and it gave you a sense of quietness and solitude. It was built in 1727 by Tibetan monks. Legend has it that they arrived on site they found a delightful plain in a mountain valley and wanted to build a monastery. Nearby there were two boys playing, but the monks and the boys spoke different languages. When the name of the valley was asked, the boys thought they were asked what their names were, so the monastery's name is a combination of those two boys names.
This use to be a huge and organized complex as can be seen in various pictures and paintings, but in the Soviet purge of 1937 the monastery has been reduced to 27 buildings along with monks being executed and artifacts looted. Please know that it is still well worth the effort to see this religious site and this monastery survived much better than many others.
I have already posted a couple photos from here as "Photos of the Day". On Wednesday there was a night time photo with a shrine and the Big Dipper overhead and on Friday I posted a picture of the eves on the monastery's roofs. Tomorrow I will continue our adventure as we quite literally drove to the middle of nowhere and stayed with a random family. So stay tuned in each day to join us in this adventure or you can LIKE me on Facebook, FOLLOW me on Instagram, or SUBSCRIBE to me on YouTube so you do not miss any part of the adventure in the future.
Suite 303, Level 3, Elite Complex
14 Chinggis Avenue, Sukhbaatar District 1
Ulaanbaatar 14251, Mongolia
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