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Tuesday, January 24, 2017
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Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original
· New China-Mongolia Mining Deal: Economic Windfall or Environmental Threat? (full text this time)
Announcement made after Monday close. 975 closed -1.7% Monday to HK$0.29
January 23 -- This announcement (the "Announcement") is made by Mongolian Mining Corporation (In Provisional Liquidation) (the "Company") pursuant to Rule 13.09(2) of the Rules Governing the Listing of Securities on The Stock Exchange of Hong Long Limited (the "Listing Rules") and the Inside Information Provisions under Part XIVA of the Securities and Futures Ordinance (Cap. 571 of the Laws of Hong Kong).
Pursuant to the terms of the Noteholder RSA, Noteholders who accede to the Noteholder RSA after 13 January 2017 but on or before 4 p.m. New York time on 20 January 2017 are entitled to receive an interim consent fee as set forth in the Noteholder RSA.
The Company is pleased to announce that, holders of Supporting Notes with the aggregate principal amount of the Notes of additional US$11,160,000 submitted their signature pages to accede to the Noteholder RSA after 13 January 2017 but on or before 4 p.m. New York time on 20 January 2017.
As a result, holders of Supporting Notes which in aggregate constitute approximately 96.06% of the principal amount of the Notes had entered into the Noteholder RSA on or before 4 p.m. New York time on 20 January 2017.
The Company will publish further announcements to update the shareholders and potential
investors on progress of the Debt Restructuring as and when necessary.
Announcement made after Monday close. 276 closed flat Monday at HK$0.29
The Conversion Price under the 2014 Convertible Notes is adjusted from HK$0.89 to HK$0.87 per Conversion Share.
January 23 -- Mongolia Energy Corporation Limited (the "Company") refers to its announcement dated 21 November 2014 in relation to, among others, completion of the subscription of the 2014 Convertible Notes; its announcement dated 6 January 2016 in relation to adjustment to the Conversion Price under the 2014 Convertible Notes; and its announcement dated 17 January 2017 in relation to completion of issue of Shares under General Mandate (the "Announcements"). Unless otherwise defined herein, capitalized terms used herein shall have the same meanings as those defined in the Announcements.
Upon completion of issue of a total of 60,000,000 Subscription Shares as announced on 17 January 2017, and pursuant to the terms and conditions of the 2014 Convertible Notes, the Conversion Price of the 2014 Convertible Notes is adjusted from HK$0.89 to HK$0.87 per Conversion Share.
As a result, the total number of Shares issuable according to the outstanding principal and interests at the maturity date (i) under the 2014 GI Convertible Note upon full exercise will be 716,853,496 Shares; (ii) under the 2014 CTF Convertible Note upon full exercise will be 3,205,224,374 Shares, and (iii) under the 2014 SF Convertible Notes upon full exercise will be 660,758,274 Shares. As of today, no conversion has been made by any of the respective holders of the 2014 Convertible Notes. Save for the above adjustments, all other terms and conditions of the respective 2014 Convertible Notes remain unchanged.
The Conversion Price adjustments have been reviewed and confirmed by a financial adviser pursuant to the terms and conditions of the 2014 Convertible Notes.
EFFECT ON SHAREHOLDING STRUCTURE OF THE COMPANY
January 19 (FMG Funds) In local terms the MSE Top 20 ended the quarter with a 9% gain but the depreciation of the Tugrik wiped out those gains. The best performing stocks in the portfolio was the mining giant Turquoise (+9%) and coal miner Tavan Tolgoi (+30%) while the laggard brokerage firm BDSec (-27%).
In 2016 the Mongolian People's Party won a lanslide victory in the parliamentary election. It was a strong sign that Mongolians were fed up with populistic politics. MPP is a pro-business alternative (Mogi: since when did MPP became the pro-business party?) and they have initiated a number of key projects to ignite growth in the economy. After a five year commodity slump, 2016 proved to be a stellar year for energy, hard and soft commodities. An environment that suits this resource rich country very well. Indeed several offshore listed mining companies did perform exceptionally well with the price of coal and iron ore rallying 70% and copper by 20%. However, the local stock market had a rollercoaster year and failed to initiate a bull market and ended down 23%. The MSE is a thin market that can swiftly be moved as history has proven (+174% in 2010) but volumes remained low as both foreigners and locals were sitting on the sidelines. Small Frontier Markets are not on the radar of global investors but we believe that a small spark could trigger a sharp rally in the years to come.
Mogi: full text this time:
The new agreement could be both, as it shifts much of China's coal production outside its borders and helps Mongolia pay down billions of dollars in debt
By JULIE WERNAU
January 21 (WSJ) Mongolia recently reached a new deal to sell coal to China, helping it boost its faltering economy and start repaying billions of dollars it owes Wall Street lenders.
Under the landmark agreement completed late last year, Mongolia's state-owned mining company will sell coal to China at roughly double the previously agreed-upon rate.
The deal follows a devastating four-year period when Mongolian miners exported coal to China at deeply-discounted prices, sometimes for as little as 11% of the global benchmark price, undercutting Mongolia's economic growth. Mongolia agreed to those punitive terms to get the loan from China and has been struggling to repay it.
The new export agreement will help Mongolia pay its mounting debt, including bonds held by BlackRock Inc., Fidelity Investments, UBS Global Asset Management and other global investors that bought the debt for its double-digit yields, according to bond investors.
But the export deal has a downside for Mongolia: It effectively transfers much coal production from China, which is bent on cleaning up its environment, to its poorer neighbor.
That means worsening environmental damage is nearly certain in Mongolia, as its coal output ramps up, analysts say. Mongolia's arid climate has been getting drier, in part because mining activities require large amounts of water. Dry conditions have been driving more of the population to the capital, Ulaanbaatar, where people commonly burn coal to stay warm.
Trucks carrying coal are backed up for nearly 40 miles at Mongolia's southern border with China, in what some analysts call the world's largest traffic jam.
"These trucks are on unpaved roads, the air pollution is getting worse, it impacts the communities and the region," says Damdinnyam Gongor, a Mongolian and independent researcher on natural-resource governance.
Yet Mongolia seems willing to make that trade-off, with coal prices soaring since China has begun cutting production, analysts say. Market prices for the type of coal produced in Mongolia, which is used in steel- and iron-making operations, skyrocketed 200% in 2016 to $225 a ton.
"The Mongolian government's most pressing target should be to create sustainable economics for its country," said Adrienne Lui, an Asia economist for Citigroup. "The smog problem will improve alongside when more people are fed, working and warm."
Mongolia is also in talks with some Asian firms to develop its Tavan Tolgoi coal reserves, analysts say. The Gobi desert site is one of the world's largest untapped coal mines, with more than six billion tons of coal deposits.
Under emperor Kublai Khan, the Mongols conquered China in the 13th century and ruled a powerful empire that eventually collapsed. Today, the country of three million people is the most sparsely populated in the world, according to the United Nations. About 21% of Mongolians are in poverty, and 40% are classified as nomadic, the U.N. says.
Even before the new coal price agreement went into effect last quarter, Mongolia was benefiting from a boost in exports to China, after Chinese miners cut back production over the government's environmental concerns. In November, Mongolia shipped 3.36 million tons of the fossil fuel to its neighbor —a 186% year-over-year increase, according to Chinese customs data.
Some analysts are forecasting coal sales to China will boost Mongolia's economic growth by double-digits. BDSec JSC, Mongolia's largest broker and investment bank, estimates that Mongolia's economy could expand by as much as 25% this year if it continues to produce coal at the current rate and if plans for the development of Tavan Tolgoi move forward.
Mongolia needs that income to pay back debt. The government is on the hook this year for $800 million in external debt-service obligations, or 7.5% of its gross domestic product, according to Moody's.
The country began borrowing heavily from banks, bond investors and China in 2012 to build infrastructure projects, including an agreement with metal and mining company Rio Tinto to develop copper and gold deposits in the Gobi desert.
But a collapse in commodity prices and internal government squabbles delayed mining projects that Mongolia was relying on to pay back those loans. Now the country is seeking new loans from the International Monetary Fund and China.
Mongolia's debt burden upended a once-booming economy, which went from double-digit growth between 2012 and 2014 to about 1.3% this year, according to Standard & Poor's.
Investors have demanded higher yields for taking on the credit risk that comes with the collapse in growth. The country's most recent bond issue last year sold at an 11% yield, versus similar bonds that were sold in 2012 at 4% yields.
January 23 (MSE) --
January 23 (MSE) Mongolian Stock Exchange organized 5 securities trading sessions and made transaction of MNT1.5 billion with daily average transaction of MNT7,491,414,102.00 in period between 16 January 2017 and 20 January 2017.
363,225.00 shares of 41 joint stock companies worth of MNT789,978,371.00 were traded.
Most actively traded securities
Most active brokerage companies
Tulgat chandmani bayn
Government retail bonds trading:
140,397 Government retail bonds worth of MNT14,039,700,000.00 traded through one trading session.
Most active brokerage companies for Government securities trading
2,036 government retail bonds traded on secondary market of Government securities trading and total of 201,695,730.00 transaction has been made.
Daewoo Securities Mongolia
As of 20 January 2016, market capitalization was MNT1,447,186,736,786.17 which indicated increased of 0.34% and MSE ALL index reached 851.76 units which indicated increased of 0.43% from the previous week.
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:
January 23 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 179.4 billion at a weighted interest rate of 14.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/
Ulaanbaatar, January 23 (MONTSAME) By the end of 2016, there are 141.5 thousand entities registered to the business registry of Mongolia. Almost half of the registered or 69.4 thousand entities are not operational. In 2016, a total of 1,527 companies or entities fully stopped their operations, reports the Business Registry.
Most (84.3 percent) of the registered entities are small businesses with 1-9 staffers, while 12.5 percent is made up by companies with 10-49 employees and only 3.4 percent – by companies with more than 50 workers.
This indicates that small and medium enterprises continue to constitute the majority of businesses in Mongolia.
In terms of ownership, there are 63.8 thousand public and 3.777 thousand private companies.
Out of the registered entiies, 38.4 percent or 27.7 thousand entities run businesses in wholesale and retail, sales of automobiles and motorbikes, mechanics and repair, and distribution of gas and other kinds of fuel.
More than half of the registered entities operate in Ulaanbaatar.
January 23 (World Bank) --
Author: IEG Review Team; IEG Review Team;
Document Date: 2017/01/23 18:08:02
Document Type: Implementation Completion Report Review
Report Number: ICRR0020455
Volume No: 1
Total Volume(s): 1
Region: East Asia and Pacific;
Disclosure Date: 2017/01/23 18:08:02
Disclosure Status: Disclosed
Doc Name: Mongolia - MN-Index-Based Livestock Insurance
- New administration to withdraw from TPP; dollar weakens
- Holdings in bullion exchange-traded funds rise for fifth day
January 23 (Bloomberg) Gold futures rose to the highest since November as protectionist signals from the Trump administration unsettled financial markets and weakened the dollar, spurring demand for the metal as a haven. Copper and other industrial metals also climbed.
Bullion headed for a second straight gain as the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell to near the lowest in a month. Gold has risen more than 5 percent this year, helped by a decline in the U.S. currency that's boosting the appeal of metals as alternative assets.
Gold investors have focused on two main views since Trump's election in November: one seeing him as a wild card upending policy on everything from trade to alliances, and the other betting that he'll boost U.S. growth, equities and the dollar. The administration's opening days have been marked by protests, disputes about what constitutes a fact and assertions from Trump that he'll put "America first."
"It's becoming increasingly apparent that economic activity in the U.S. under this new president may not be as stellar as many have thought," said Bart Melek, the head of commodity strategy at Toronto-Dominion Bank in Toronto. "The U.S. dollar has been dropping. That's a positive outcome for gold."
Gold futures for Feb. delivery rose 0.7 percent to $1,213.80 an ounce at 10:04 a.m. on the Comex in New York. The metal touched $1,219.40, the highest since Nov. 22. Prices are up about 5.3 percent this month.
Aluminum paced gains in industrial metals on the London Metal Exchange, with nickel, lead, zinc and copper also advancing. Tin declined.
President Trump is expected to sign an executive order Monday to withdraw the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, according to an official familiar with the plans. He's also expected to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement in the near-term. The Bloomberg dollar gauge, which tracks the greenback against 10 peers, fell as much as 0.7 percent.
"In this kind of very unforeseeable environment, people want to buy gold," said Bob Takai, chief executive officer and president of Sumitomo Corp. Global Research Co., said by phone from Tokyo.
Investors have started buying gold through exchange-traded funds again. Holdings rose 0.9 metric ton on Friday to 1,776.7 tons. The fifth straight daily gain is the longest run since Nov. 3, data compiled by Bloomberg show. After Trump's win, assets dropped every week through to Jan. 13 as a rally in equities and the dollar curbed demand.
In other precious metals:
- Silver futures for March delivery rose 0.7 percent to $17.155 an ounce.
- Platinum futures for April delivery gained 0.8 percent to $983.80 an ounce.
- Palladium futures for March delivery fell 1.1 percent to $779.45 an ounce.
Chile sees copper output rising 4.3 pct this year – Reuters, January 23
World's Copper King Is Finally Kicking the Habit After 50 Years – Bloomberg, January 23
* Many traders already away ahead of Lunar New Year
* Dalian iron ore has fallen nearly 8 pct from 3-year high
MANILA, Jan 23 (Reuters) Iron ore and steel futures in China fell for a fourth session on Monday, with appetite for trading slim as many market participants are already away ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday.
Chinese markets will be shut for a week from Friday.
"Everyone's off already," said a trader in Singapore, adding that activity in the physical market was also slow.
"But we are seeing outflow of money from commodities to equities. Transacting commodities futures in China is high-cost and high-margin and the government is relaxing requirements on equities futures," he said.
China's exchanges hiked fees and trading margins on many commodities including steel and iron ore last year following wild price swings.
The most-active rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was down 2 percent at 3,186 yuan ($466) a tonne by 0218 GMT.
Iron ore on the Dalian Commodity Exchange dropped 1.8 percent to 615.50 yuan per tonne. The steelmaking raw material has dropped almost 8 percent from a three-year high reached last week.
Iron ore had benefited from this month's surge in steel prices as China boosted efforts to tackle a glut, recently aiming to shut producers of substandard steel by the end of June.
China asked local authorities to submit a list of these producers by Jan. 20, with details of specific measures and a timetable for phasing out production.
The continued weakness in futures could further drag down spot iron ore prices.
Iron ore for delivery to China's Qingdao port .IO62-CNO=MB slipped 0.7 percent to $80.41 a tonne on Friday, easing for a second day in a row, according to Metal Bulletin.
NEW YORK, January 23 (Reuters) Oil prices eased on Monday as signs of a strong recovery in U.S. drilling largely overshadowed news that OPEC and non-OPEC producers were on track to meet output reduction goals.
Ministers representing members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC producers said at a meeting in Vienna on Sunday that of the almost 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) they had agreed to remove from the market starting on Jan. 1, 1.5 million bpd had already been cut. [nL5N1FC096]
"Despite comments over the weekend at the OPEC compliance meeting that cuts in OPEC/non-OPEC production were ahead of schedule, a sharp rise in U.S. rig counts and talk of large increases in capital spending seem to be souring the bullish mood," said Phil Flynn, analyst at Chicago-based brokerage Price Futures Group.
U.S. drillers added the most rigs in nearly four years last week, data from energy services company Baker Hughes showed on Friday, extending an eight-month drilling recovery. [nL1N1FA1BE]
Brent crude LCOc1 was down 13 cents at $55.36 a barrel by 1:46 p.m. EST (1846 GMT). U.S. crude futures CLc1 traded at $52.91 a barrel, down 0.6 percent, or 31 cents.
Prices pared some losses after Iraq's oil minister said it was too early to say whether the deal needed to be extended and that he expected oil prices to rise to $60-$65 per barrel. [nL9N1BC012]
From a technical perspective, both contracts remain – for the time being – above their respective key support levels, said Fawad Razaqzada, technical analyst for Forex.com.
The trend therefore remains bullish for oil until the charts say otherwise, he added.
U.S. oil production has risen by more than 6 percent since mid-2016, though it remains 7 percent below the 2015 peak. It is back to levels of late 2014, when strong U.S. crude output contributed to a crash in oil prices.
"There is a widely held view that prices should be higher because that is what Saudi Arabia is strongly pushing for through immediate supply cuts, but there is concern as to the speed and scale of the response of U.S. shale oil supply to higher prices," Standard Chartered said in a note.
"While we have argued that U.S. shale cannot increase fast enough to balance cuts in production elsewhere, we think that market concerns on the potential U.S. response are still providing short-term resistance to prices heading closer to $60."
U.S. President Donald Trump has pledged to impose a hefty border tax on companies that want to import products to the United States. [nL1N1EA1I8]
Oil market speculators added to bullish bets last week, showing increased optimism about higher prices. [nEONH1L0RZ]
However, a record high gross long position 3067651MLNG among money managers in NYMEX crude oil futures and options leaves the market ripe for a correction, traders said.
Ulaanbaatar, January 23 (MONTSAME) In response to alleged reports that Chinese nationals will be granted visa-free entrance to Mongolia for up to 30 days, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on January 22, denying the above claim.
The statement read that the matter of foreign nationals' visa-free travel to Mongolia is regulated in regard to international agreements, and no decision has been taken by the Government regarding visa-free entrance for Chinese nationals.
Mutual travels by Mongolian and Chinese nationals continue to be regulated by Mongolia-China agreement established in 1989. Chinese nationals with regular passports apply for a Mongolian visa on the occasion of visiting Mongolia.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs encouraged the people to avoid unofficial reports of unfounded claims, and refer to official sources in cases such as this.
January 23 (Parliament.mn) On January 17, 2017 /Tuesday/
- Standing committee on Budget discussed two issues. First, agreed to discuss the concept on amending to the Law on Government Special Fund. Second, amendments to the Law on Government Special Fund that would privilege a Cabinet member to issue an order. The order to regulate activities of concessional lending allocated from the development fund of small and medium-sized enterprises.
- Standing committee on Justice discussed three issues. First, final discussions on amendments to the Road Traffic Safety Law and to the Law on Administrative Responsibilities. Second, agreed to discuss the concept of the Law on Police Service /revised version/ and other relevant draft bills. Third, agreed to discuss the concept of the Law on Domestic Military and other relevant draft bills.
- Chairwoman of the Standing committee on Petitions, MP D.Sarangerel and MP B.Enkh-Amgalan worked at the State Housing Corporation to get acquainted with implementation of "Rental housing program".
- Chairman of the Standing committee on Economics, MP D.Terbishdagva and MPs B.Javkhlan, B.Undarmaa, L.Eldev-Ochir, S.Chinzorig acknowledged with activities of Financial Regulatory Commission of Mongolia to familiarize with implementation of objectives and measures included in the programs to recover economy and its relevant legislations.
- Standing committee on Social policy, education, culture and science backed to discuss four issues and submit to the plenary session meeting. First, agreed to discuss the concept of the draft bill on Food and Grocery Products for Infants /revised version/. Second, agreed to discuss the concept of the draft bill on Donors /revised version/. Third & Fourth, first hearing of the draft bills on Elders /revised version/ and Premium Allocations to Elders with State Awards /revised version/.
- Standing committee on State structures backed to discuss three issues and submit to the plenary session meeting. First, continued the first discussion of the Law on Presidential election. Second, agreed to discuss the concept of the draft bill to amend the Law on Administrations, Administrative Units and its Managements. Third, agreed to discuss the concept of the draft bill on Consultative Referendum.
On January 18, 2017 /Wednesday/
- Standing committee on Security and foreign policy discussed two issues. First, first discussion on amendments to the Law on Diplomatic Service. Second, Head of Cabinet Office, Minister of Mongolia, J.Munkhbat presented a report on the State palace's construction status, quality and safety summary.
- Members of the Standing committee on Social policy, education, culture and science, MPs Yo.Baatarbileg and D.Gantulga worked at the Science and Technology Foundation to familiarize with implementation of the Law on Innovation.
- Members of Parliament Ya.Sodbaatar and N.Tserenbat called a press conference to state that the MPP group at the Parliament decided to return the draft bill on Presidential Election to its initiators.
On January 19, 2017 /Thursday/
At the plenary session meeting of the Parliament:
- The draft bill on Consultative Referendum was backed to submit to the Standing committee on State structures for first discussion.
- Amendments to the Road Traffic Safety Law were approved.
- Parliamentarians backed the Law on Police Service /revised version/ and the Law on Police Service /revised version/ as well as other relevant draft bills and submitted to the Justice standing committee for preparation for the first discussions respectively.
- The concept of the draft bill to amend the Law on Administrations, Administrative Units and its Managements was reviewed and submitted to the Standing committee on State structures for the first discussion.
- Amendments to the Law on Diplomatic Service were reviewed and backed to submit the draft bill to the Standing committee on Security and foreign policy for final discussion.
- On Thursday, the Standing committee on State structures continued the first discussion of the Law on Presidential election and resolved to return the draft bill to its initiators deeming that even the law is ratified it impossible to be implemented.
On January 20, 2017 /Friday/
- At the Friday's plenary session meeting only one issue was discussed, the Law on Presidential election and its relevant laws. Consequently, parliamentarians supported to giving back the Law on Presidential election to its initiators.
Ts. Elbegdorj: There is no Silk Road without Mongolia
Summary: The President of Mongolia, Ts. Elbegdorj, participated in a New Silk Road forum at the 47th World Economic Forum to discuss factors in developing the New Silk Road connecting Asia and Europe. The President noted the importance of utilizing green technology to build the New Silk Road and powering trains with renewable energy. The President stated, "Mongolia is one of the founders of the Silk Road and the foundation for the road was established during the Mongol Empire. Therefore, there would be no Silk Road without Mongolia. The participation of Mongolia in the New Silk Road is the country's leading ambition." The President also participated in forums on using the latest technology and science to tackle air pollution and to create long term policies to protect the health of citizens, as well as forums on promoting agriculture and reducing global warming.
Keywords: New Silk Road, President Ts.Elbegdorj, WEF | The Century News /page 2/
The Law on Conflicts working group wants public opinions on proposed amendments
Summary: Parliament's Legal Standing Committee is accepting feedback and comments from citizens and organizations on amendments to the Law on Conflicts. The Law on Conflicts was approved in 2015, but the new government believes that some provisions of the law overlap with provisions in the Criminal Code, and that the law is lacking some provisions, so amendments have been sent to Parliament. Comments from the public will be accepted until February 1, and will be incorporated into the first hearing for the amendments. The working group tasked with preparing the amendments for a hearing and incorporating the public's opinions will be led by MP Kh. Nayambaatar.
Keywords: Parliament, civic engagement | Today /page A2/
Central Bank reports on interventions and inflation
Summary: The Bank of Mongolia reported on recent economic developments, and noted that in order to stabilize the currency exchange rate, the bank made a currency intervention of 1.2 billion USD, but the foreign exchange rate increased by 24.4% in 2016. As of last month, the central bank's bond reserves are equal to 578 billion MNT. The inflation rate according to the central bank's Consumer Price Index stood at 1.1% nationwide and 0.5% in Ulaanbaatar. In UB, prices for textiles and clothes decreased in price while the price of meat increased.
Keywords: Bank of Mongolia, economy, inflation | Today /page B1/
U.S.-Mongolia transparency agreement to take effect on March 20
Summary: The Agreement on Transparency in Matters Related to International Trade and Investment between the United States of America and Mongolia was signed on September 23, 2013, in New York City. On January 19, representatives from both countries signed and exchanged letters concerning the agreement, which is set to take effect on March 20. The transparency agreement is vital to attracting FDI, as it will create the opportunity for open communication by informing the public about laws related to international trade and investment, will facilitate civic engagement, and help to combat corruption.
Keywords: bilateral relations, economic transparency | www.ikon.mn
Ulaanbaatar, January 23 (MONTSAME) After many years of efforts of the international and domestic children's rights organizations to support the rights of child jockeys, public attitudes and the legal environment are starting to make progress.
But every year before the lunar year celebration, major competitions, such as "Dunjingarav" are organized during the peak cold seasons for the "luck of the draw" of the year. After winter competitions were prohibited, horse races named as "spring" competition have been taking place every year, lightly and heavily injuring a total of 330-580 children in the last 3 years.
Starting this year, with the А/36 order "List of occupations prohibited to employ underage persons" approved by the Minister of Labor on February 8, 2016, the child jockeys and their rights are protected. Specifically, every year from November to May, involving children in horse races or trial races will result in a legal liability.
As such, children's rights organization and the government have shown results by looking further into the matter. For example, "The standard on equipments for child jockeys in national horse races" was approved in 2011, demanding the child jockeys to wear a protection gear.
Department of Family, Children and Youth development have also informed that the relevant organizations have started taking care of the safety of the children, regularly monitoring the standard of the law regulations.
January 23 (gogo.mn) In scope of Chinese New Year, Mongolian border crossings with China will be closed during Jan 27-29th.
According to the agreement on the border ports and their rules between the Mongolia and China, border crossings shall be closed on a national celebration of two countries.
However train and aircrafts will run according to their regular schedule.
Chinese border crossings to close – news.mn, January 23
By Michael Kohn
January 23 (Bloomberg) -- Mongolia's NovaTerra LLC has entered into a shareholder agreement to develop a 50-megawatt solar power plant in the Southgobi region, the latest venture intended to lower Ulaanbaatar's toxic air pollution and provide a base of power that can be exported south to China.
NovaTerra, an investment, project management and advisory firm, and Bangkok-based Symbior Energy Co. will invest at least $100 million in a solar power park located in Mongolia's Khanbogd county, NovaTerra partner Byambasaikhan Bayanjargal said by phone in Ulaanbaatar. Khanbogd, 80 kilometers (49.7 miles) north of the Chinese frontier, is also the location of the Rio Tinto managed Oyu Tolgoi copper mine.
Mongolia is seeking solutions for an air pollution crisis in Ulaanbaatar, where winter smog from coal burning exceeds levels in Beijing by a factor of five. President Elbegdorj earlier this month declared the situation a national emergency and called on authorities to evacuate the worst hit areas.
Financial close for NovaTerra's project is expected to occur this year with the initial section of the plant operational in the first half of 2018, said Byambasaikhan, who earlier developed the 50-megawatt Salkhit wind farm, Mongolia's first large-scale renewable project.
"Five years ago, when I was getting funding for Salkhit, people thought I was crazy. They said Mongolia has lots of coal and renewable energy is expensive,'' said Byambasaikhan. "But now we have wind and solar plants, the cost of development is coming down, prices are becoming more competitive and people now see Mongolia as a place to make more investment in renewable energy."
Mongolia is looking to build up its energy production in order to feed power into the so-called Asian Super Grid, a link spanning Northeast Asia proposed by companies including SoftBank Group Corp., Korean Electric Power Corp. and State Grid Corp. of China. In 2014 the country's parliament passed a Green Development Policy that calls for 20 percent of energy production to be sourced from renewable sources by 2030.
January 23 (news.mn) Mongolia has been named a 'solar energy paradise'; however, despite the bright sunny days, the country produces only 2-3% of its energy needs from renewable resources. Coal currently accounts for 73 percent of total national energy consumption. The 2015 Paris Agreement sent a clear signal that the era of fossil fuels — in particular coal — is coming to an end. Around the world, evidence grows that the coal industry is in a steep and irreversible decline - with the possible exception of the USA, where President Trump wants to revive coal production and reverse the green approach of the Obama years. Over 150 countries, however, are still united in the agreement for green energy including Mongolia.
Mongolia is planning to increase energy production from renewable resources to 30% by 2030 according to Energy Minister P.Gankhuu. The minister was among the delegates from 150 countries at the VII forum of International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which was held in Abu Dhabi from 16th to 19th of January. One of the biggest outcomes of the forum was evidence to indicate that the costs for solar energy will continue to fall over the coming years by an estimated 43% by 2025, making it 65% cheaper than conventional power generation.
Mongolia's energy efforts acknowledged – Montsame, January 23
By Michael Kohn
January 23 (Bloomberg) -- Co. sold more than 300,000t coal from its West Tsankhi pit since December at $71.50/t, earning $22.5m, Ariunbold Dorj, CEO said Friday, cited on government website zasag.mn.
* Follows meeting with Prime Minister Erdenebat Jargaltulga
* Erdenes TT exported 7.65mt coal in 2016; plans to export 11.5mt this year
* NOTE: Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi sells coal on the open market from its West Tsankhi pit, coal from its East Tsankhi pit is used to repay a debt owed to the Aluminum Corp of China Ltd. (Chalco).
Ulaanbaatar, January 23 (MONTSAME) Construction of the sewage treatment plant in Sainshand, the center of Dornogobi (East Gobi) province, will commence in 2017, an official source told MONTSAME. The project costs USD 3.7 million, funded by the Asian Development Bank.
The necessary treatment demand for Sainshand is 1,200 cubemeters of wastewater per day, whereas the small settlement near the railroad needs to be treated of 400 cubemeters of wastewater on daily basis.
Intended treatment capacity of the project is 4,200 cubemeters per day. However, the Dornogobi Governor, T.Enkhtuvshin requested to lower the capacity to 3,200 cubemeters to minimize costs in order to allow for building more connections between settlement and treatment facility, to be located in the further southwest side of Sainshand.
The project executors accepted his request and are allowing for a possibility to increase the capacity in the future.
Ulaanbaatar, January 23 (MONTSAME) Authorities of Selenge aimag visited Shizuoka Prefecture of Japan and established a cooperation agreement on sowing buckwheat in Selenge province last week.
A.Erdenegerel, Head of Department of Investment and Policy Planning of Development of the Administration of Selenge province said "Two specialists from Shizuoka prefecture will work in Selenge province to advise to farmers and agrarians. Japanese specialists will arrive in Mongolia four times during the period from spring planting time to autumn harvesting. After harvesting buckwheat grown in Selenge province, Shizuoka prefecture will purchase the buckwheat in accordance with the agreement".
Moreover, a working group led by the Governor of the Shizuoka prefecture is planning to pay a working visit to Selenge province next August in order to seek for opportunities to cooperate in other spheres.
For the time being, Baruunburen, Altanbulag, Baruunkharaa and Khushaat soums of Selenge province sow the buckwheat over 1000 ha every year. In 2016, a total of 335 tons of buckwheat was harvested for the consumption of the soums.
Krasnoyarsk poultry farm "dawn" in 2017 plans to increase exports of eggs in Mongolia 24%
January 23 (Agro2b) JSC "Poultry factory "Zarya" (the village Emelyanovo, a suburb of Krasnoyarsk) in 2016, set in Mongolia 9.7 million eggs, according to the press service of the regional Department of the Federal service for veterinary and phytosanitary surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor).
For 2017, the company sent the office a request for the supply of the current year in Mongolia to 12 million eggs. Thus, the poultry farm in the coming year expects to increase its exports to this country by 23.7%.
Press-service of Rosselkhoznadzor said that in January, "dawn" has already sent to Mongolia two batches of eggs – a total of 604 thousand. Products are delivered to the customer by motor transport via international point "Kyakhta" (Buryatia).
Ulaanbaatar, January 23 (MONTSAME) 'Made in Mongolia' series of expo and business meeting will run this year, announced 'Anglo Freight' LLC, the initiator and organizer of the event. The company in collaboration with other relevant organizations organized 'Made in Mongolia' series of expo and business meeting twice in the US in 2015 and 2016, involving 20 national companies.
Some 10 thousand people visited the previous expos, purchasing products of USD27 thousand. Moreover, some national companies established business contracts. For instance, 'Shalure' US brand made a contract with 'Gobi' company to produce its own products made of cashmere and 'SRB' LLC found its overseas customer for leather bags.
Encouraged by the results of the expo and business meetings, the initiator company plans to continue the events and by now, it has become clear that ''Made in Mongolia' expo will run during 'Fashion world Tokyo' international fair on April 5-7 in Tokyo and business meetings will be held in Osaka and Shizuoka cities of Japan on April 5-10. The expo also will run in Toronto, Canada and Chicago, USA in September.
Ulaanbaatar, January 23 (MONTSAME) On January 28, protest against heavy air pollution and smog will take place for the second time on the central square of the capital.
Last month on December 26, "Anti-Smog Union of Fathers and Mothers" non-governmental organization have organized their first protest against smog, submitting various demands about taking tangible actions against the air pollution with over 10 thousand signatures.
As a result, National Security Council held an extended meeting on processing guidance against the air pollution and smog on January 10. The Government set to endorse the plan to reduce air pollution on February 20. The Government has upset the public with its slow implementation process, forcing the NGO to protest once again to hasten the implementation and to re-demand some of the previous articles.
The demand included the unfulfilled requests, such as the publicizing of the report on actions for reducing air pollution for the past 15 years due on January 15. Also a detailed plan to reduce air pollution by 80 percent before 2018, and statistics of children's death and sickness rate to be reported on weekly basis.
With the second protest on January 28, the organization is planning to demand immediate implementation of National Security Council's guidance.
January 23 (gogo.mn) On Jan 10th, National Security Council of Mongolia held a meeting under topic of "Air and Environmental Pollution of Ulaanbaatar city" and discussed actions to be implemented in short and long terms.
At the meeting, Prime Minister J.Erdenebat has introduced the actions to be implemented by the Government of Mongolia.
ACTIONS TO BE IMPLEMENTED IN 2017;
1. In scope of free nighttime electricity discount, the Government will provide electricity meter with dual-tariff equivalents to 36.4 households.
2. The government proposed commercial banks to establish green loan fund to grant loans to households that will use electric heaters.
3. Establish a fund against air pollution.
4. Develop national program against air pollution.
5. Provide briquette to 23 thousand households.
6. Create campaigns to encourage good habits for the public.
7. Install smoke filters to vehicles.
8. Entitle paid leave for parents of the children up to age of five years, who receive a three to five days of treatment.
9. Cover costs of 10 types of medicines for children up to age of five years, who are suffering from influenza-like illness
Government of Mongolia has budgeted MNT 100 billion for the implementation of the actions.
ACTIONS TO BE IMPLEMENTED IN MID-TERM /2-3 years/;
1. Improve infrastructure of ger districts and build housing. Of which US$ 50 million from Chinese soft loan will be funded to the construction of housing in 100 ail area.
2. Scientists and researchers will conduct study on how to improve heat insulation of Mongolian ger.
3. Restrict the import of used vehicles.
4. City buses to run on compressed natural gas.
5. Increase the number of air quality monitor.
6. Create a partial heat supply.
7. Start an experimental project to construct heating plant to run on natural gas
ACTIONS TO BE IMPLEMENTED IN LONG-TERM;
1. Develop regions to reduce migration to cities.
2. Continue ger district housing program.
3. Implement central and partial heat supply policies.
4. Develop city development plan with vision.
5. Improve public participation.
ACTIONS TO BE IMPLEMENTED IN ULAANBAATAR CITY;
1. Set up new residential areas at the outer parts of the city, especially in Nalaikh, Baganuur, Bagakhangai and Tuv aimag.
2. Create four smokeless zones in Ulaanbaatar city to increase the air quality.
3. Organizations and entities located in smokeless zones shall use gas or electric heaters.
4. Prohibit households to burn waste such as, old tires, used oil and plastics.
5. Supply air filter to secondary schools and kindergartens in 2017-2018.
6. Stop migration to the city from rurals until 2018.
7. Ban use of non-standard stoves starting Apr 1, 2017.
8. Install filter on buses and refuse diesel engine.
January 23 (MONTSAME) With the upcoming Chinese Lunar year (New Year) celebration from 27th to 29th of this month, Embassy of the People's Republic of China and Chinese cultural center held a series of events in Ulaanbaatar last week.
During the third annual event, artists from Shandong province of China performed their show at the "Ulaanbaatar" ensemble hall. Meanwhile in "Sky resort" ski resort, a circus show was played, including martial arts and dragon skiing numbers. Also, the artists and craftsmen from China have captivated the audience by making portraits of people with papers for them.
Special guests included representatives of the Embassy of Russian Federation, Republic of Laos, Republic of Cuba in Mongolia and the Ministry of Education and Science of Mongolia.
January 23 (The Public Policy Blog) Two months ago, on November 18th, 2016 His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrived in Mongolia. He had been invited to speak by the Gandantegchinlen Monastery on issues of materialism and faith in the twenty-first century. Normally this would not be a newsworthy event outside of Ulaanbaatar and yet it made many Western headlines. This visit was significant because the Dalai Lama's confirmed the identity of the 10th Jebtsundampa Khatagt, which signalled the growing importance of Mongolia in future Tibetan-Chinese relations. This however, was completed missed by many Western news sources who spun this even as significant because of economic reasons.
They focused on the day after the Dalai Lama left Mongolia when China issued harsh economic sanctions as punishment for allowing His Holiness' visit.
Now, there has always been a song and dance of displeasure when the Dalai Lama visits Mongolia, as he has done nine times between 1982 and 2016. It begins with a standard notice from Beijing upon the Dalai Lama's arrival asking the Mongolian government to refuse him entry, which is always ignored. Then there is promptly some sort of reaction from Beijing, either public statements of unhappiness or in recent years, the closing of borders (2002) and the cancelling of flights to Ulaanbaatar (2009).
In November, however, there was an increase in the severity of that reaction. The Chinese government not only postponed talks to discuss providing a 4.2 billion dollar loan to Mongolia, they also dramatically increased import taxes to Mongolia and closed one of the borders between the two nations. In response to these actions the Mongolian Foreign Minister Ts. Munkh-Orgil stated that "Dalai Lama's visit by the invitation of Gandan Monastery negatively affected two countries and these two countries have a misunderstanding… The government feels sorry for this… [the Dalai Lama] probably won't be visiting Mongolia again during this administration." This appears like a strong statement, but Mongolia is holding elections in July and the current regime is not able to run again so this is a meaningless promise.
Despite that, this is the story that many news outlets used as an example of China's powerful reach and disregard for the conventional liberal sensibilities concerning diplomatic relations. Such a reaction is predicated on one simple assumption – that there was nothing unusual or provocative about the Dalai Lama's visit to Mongolia.
This position is not unfounded. For, the Mongolian government explicitly stated that this was a spiritual visit with no overt political content. This is mostly true, however, the covert political content of the Dalai Lama's visit was actually enormous in significance and worthy of a reaction from China.
On the last day of his visit in Mongolia the Dalai Lama announced that he was convinced of the identity of the recently identified candidate for the title of Jebtsundampa Khatagt or 10th Patriarch. This lama-boy is the leader of a school of Buddhism practiced by the majority Mongolians and of which the Dalai Lama is the spiritual head. This is a position of immense spiritual and political power in the Gulup School of Buddhism.
In 1991 it was revealed that the 9th Patriarch had been living in India with the Tibetan government in exile after fleeing communist forces. He later returned to Mongolia where he received citizenship and passed away in 2012 in the very monastery the Dalai Lama was visiting in November. Since 2012 there have been various indications from the Dalai Lama that the 10th Patriarch has been found in Mongolia, but his identity and location have been kept a secret for fear of Chinese interference.
The declaration from the Dalai Lama that the identity of this boy has been confirmed places Mongolia in a position of strategic importance. For, the eventual death and reincarnation of the current Dalai Lama will involve a confirmation and selection process that includes a number of lamas, including the Jebtsundampa Khatagt. This search will also include the Panchant Lama, a very controversial figure because he was selected by the Chinese government after the boy selected by the Dalai Lama vanished in Tibet. The birth of a Mongolian lama to be involved in this search gives that nation an important bargaining chip against China.
With all this additional context quite a different story emerges. This visit was significant for the Mongolian government for it signaled the emergence of an important opportunity in their future to affect Tibetan-Chinese relations. China noted this and responded with policies attempting to remind Mongolian how much they rely on Chinese trade. Now, China is more powerful and over the past six years has accounted for 80-90% of the exports from Mongolia. So it is important for Mongolia to keep relations with China civil, as seen by their response. However, that has never meant that the Mongolians do not commit small acts to assert their independence – and as symbols of defiance go, the Dalai Lama is a pretty good one.
Written By: Corrin Bulmer
Ulaanbaatar, January 23 (MONTSAME) On January 20, B.Chinbat, Head of Communication and Information Technology Authority received Elizabeth Barsak, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of France to Mongolia.
The dignitaries exchanged views on cooperation in the field of space research. At the meeting, Ambassador Elizabeth Barsak noted that the National Center for Space Studies of France is ready to cooperate with Mongolia in the future.
Ulaanbaatar, January 23 (MONTSAME) Surgical drill and saw with auto sensor has started to be used in brain surgery at the National Center of Traumatology. New surgical power tools allow to shorten the duration of surgical operation and reduce recovery period of working ability and lead to less negative consequence and pain to the patient, as keeping fullness of skull better.
In brain surgery for up to 16 year olds, it has become possible to reposition part of skull and enables the skull fully recover its structure with own bones. Prior to the application of this kind of tool, parts of skull were removed and replaced with titanium net, which had been very expensive. Repositioning of skull's own bone brings big progress in health and beauty as well as it costs much less.
Ulaanbaatar, January 23 (MONTSAME) On January 23, D.Ochirbat, State Secretary of Ministry of Health received a delegation of Samsung Medical Center of the Republic of Korea.
At the meeting, Lee Sang Chol, director of International Health Service Samsung Medical Center thanked the State Secretary for receiving them and informed that Mongolia and the Republic of Korea have been cooperating in health sector in accordance with a memorandum of cooperation signed between Health Ministry of Mongolia and Samsung Medical Center in 2011 and a memorandum of cooperation established with Health Development Center of Mongolia in 2013.
In turn, State Secretary, D.Ochirbat expressed gratitude to the Samsung Medical Center for cooperating on strengthening the capacity of human resources in health sector, training Mongolian medical doctors in South Korea and rendering medical services since 2011. He then mentioned about the possibility continuing the collaboration in the future by exchanging views with the relevant reciprocal health departments, Health Development Center and other organizations. He expressed his support for the cooperation between the Samsung Medical Center and the National Cancer Center of Mongolia.
Afterwards, Lee Sang Chol noted that 68 Mongolian medical staff were trained by a grant aid from South Korea in 2012 and 48 Mongolian medical specialists were involved in scholarship program of the Government of Mongolia and studied at the Samsung Medical Center. He then confirmed his willingness to carry-on the cooperation in the future.
Noting that doctors and specialists of the Samsung Medical center are planning to arrive in Mongolia, July 2017 to carry-out diagnosis and examination with Mongolian doctors, the Director of International Health Service Samsung Medical Center asked the Health Ministry to promote on the their activities.
Latest Report: South Korea Medical Tourist Arrivals and Spending Forecast To 2020
May 23, 2015 (Orbis Research) The medical tourism industry in South Korea is rapidly growing. The strength of Koreas medical tourism lies in its highly skilled medical professionals, state-of-the art medical equipment, and well-established medical infrastructure. South Korea medical tourism market is likely to nearly quadruple by the year 2020 from the 2014 level. China topped the medical tourist arrivals list in South Korea being followed by United States. Russia is standing at the third spot in terms of medical tourist arrivals in South Korea. Japan and Mongolia stands at fourth and fifth position respectively in terms of medical tourists visit to South Korea. Mongolia and Kazakhstan have a traditional preference for South Korea when looking for medical treatment abroad. South Korea is witnessing an increase in medical tourist arrivals from various countries like Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, UAE and Vietnam among others.
In terms of types of medical treatment, the general health check-up, dermatology, cosmetic surgery, Gynecology, Traditional Korean Medicine, ophthalmology, orthopedics, dental services and Neurosurgery are the popular services for which medical tourists visit South Korea.
Ulaanbaatar, January 23 (MONTSAME) Mongolian Academy of Sciences held its biennial election to choose new members last week, 3 scholars were chosen out of 11 candidates.
The new academicians joining the rank of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences are D.Tseveendorj (Sc.D), Head of Archaeology Department of Institute of History and Archaeology at the Academy of Sciences, D.Sangaa (Sc.D), Department Head at Institute of Physics and Technology at the Academy of Sciences and A.Bakei (Sc.D), Deputy President of Mongolian Academy of Agricultural Sciences.
Since studying archaeology at Lomonosov Moscow State University in 1966-1972, D.Tseveendorj has worked for 45 consecutive years at the Institute of History and Archaeology at the academy.
Member of Russian Academy of Natural Sciences since 2016, D.Sangaa previously worked as a deputy head at Laboratory of Neutron Physics, Joint Institute for Nuclear Research situated in Russian Dubna city in 2009-2013.
Former Member of Parliament A.Bakei has worked for more than 30 years in the field of sustainable development of animal husbandry including livelihood characteristics of herding families and tendencies for economic decision making.
— Emily Arsenault, University of Kansas
The scientists of MACRO have been finalizing study sites, ordering equipment and supplies, and making travel arrangements for a September 2017 expedition to Mongolia. As the trip approaches, we wanted to provide some information about why we chose to study Mongolian rivers in the first place. Read on to learn about some of the major geographic, cultural, and scientific reasons why river research in Mongolia is such a deliberate and important part of our river macrosystem study.
Mongolia is a country about 3.5 times the size of California, located between China (to the south) and Russia (to the north). The majority of Mongolian land is part of the temperate steppe biome, which includes regions that are usually fairly dry, with cold winters and hot summers and vegetation ranging from prairie grasses to semi-desert scrub. As an example, the Great Plains of the United States, from Kansas grasslands to Yellowstone National Park, to the deserts of Nevada, are all representative of the temperate steppe biome. The United States and Mongolia contain some of the largest expanses of temperate steppe plains in the world.
The temperate steppe biome has been disturbed and altered by humans for centuries, making it particularly vulnerable to the additional stressor of a changing climate. In Mongolia, air temperatures are rising much faster than they are in the United States. This allows us to use observations from Mongolia to better understand future climate change scenarios for the United States, especially as it relates to the organisms and functions of river systems.
Mongolian rivers exemplify a rare scientific control system for river ecology. Because Mongolia has such a low population density and a high cultural value for the traditional nomadic lifestyle, human impacts on the environment are very low. Mongolian rivers also lack introduced species and high head dams, making these some of the last remaining natural and intact freshwaters of the global temperate steppe biome. For these reasons, the observed conditions of United States rivers could help to predict future changes to Mongolian rivers as well, as the country continues to develop and to contemplate plans for large hydroelectric dams.
The MACRO study is one of the first of its kind and is expected to have important lessons to offer for conservation efforts in the United States, Mongolia, and beyond.
How Cashmere is Causing Rapid Desertification and Destruction in Mongolia
January 23 (One Green Planet) Mongolia is currently a country undergoing extreme change. It's home to one of the last nomadic cultures on Earth, livestock herders who spend their lives wandering the vast Mongolian Steppes, a broad swath of grassland that partially borders the Gobi Desert. About 40 percent of Mongolia's citizens are herders, living in elaborate tents called gers (yurts) and moving to fresh pastures with the changing seasons. But in recent years, more and more nomadic herders are abandoning their way of life, leaving behind the wild steppes, and pitching their tents on the edges of the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, refugees of climate change, a shifting economy, and, oddly enough, a growth in the production of cashmere.
Since the 1940s, Mongolia's average yearly temperatures have risen by 2.14 degrees Celcius. That's more than twice as much as Earth's total temperature has risen during that time, and 21 times faster than the natural rate at which Earth has warmed over the past 5,000 years (based on NASA statistics). This change in temperature has compounded a weather anomaly in the region called the dzud, which causes dry summers and exceptionally cold winters. These weather patterns have a negative impact on the amount of grass that can grow in the Mongolian Steppes, which means there's less food for livestock. But rainfall and temperature aren't the only environmental pressures on the native grasses. In 1990, emboldened by the collapse of the Soviet Union, Mongolia underwent a peaceful revolution that demolished its Communist government in favor of a democracy. The Communist regime had previously maintained strict control of the number of livestock that could be raised, but with those restrictions lifted after the revolution, nomadic herders quickly began to increase their livestock holding. The total number of livestock, which was capped at 20 million under Communist Mongolia, has since more than tripled to 70 million today. That's more than three times as much livestock now feeding on a dwindling reserve of grass.
So How Does Cashmere Fit Into the Story?
It turns out that not only has the number of livestock changed, but the composition of herds has also undergone a radical makeover. China, which Mongolia does most of its trading with, puts limits on the amount of meat and dairy that can be imported from Mongolian herds, but there is no such restriction on cashmere. So within the past three decades, herders have switched out the old animals they relied on, including cows, sheep, and the iconic yak, for cashmere-producing goats, which have gone from comprising just 19 percent of Mongolian livestock to over 60 percent today. Mongolia is now the world's second highest producer of cashmere and produced approximately 7,000 tons of the fabric in 2015 alone.
But goats are voracious eaters, more so than the cows and yaks they're replacing. They not only tear away the leaves of grass but pull up and consume the root as well, destroying rather than mowing the plants. And herders have already noticed the difference this has caused. Lkhagvajav Bish, a 90-year-old herder recently spoke with NPR correspondents, saying, "We've been wintering in this valley for 30 years…Back then, the grass came up to my chest. It grew so tall that we had to use a sickle and horse-drawn equipment to cut through it. But the grass of my time is gone. There's no longer enough to feed the animals."
As the grass disappears, sand takes its place. Just like the rampant desertification occurring in North Africa, as the Mongolian Steppes dwindle, the Gobi Desert expands, a trend which is already severely affecting Northern China and parts of Mongolia. Sandstorms pummel crops and pastures, and the grass recedes to ever smaller and smaller areas in the face of the onslaught. According to the Mongolian Government, 90 percent of the country is in danger of and susceptible to desertification. One artist has erected several displays in the desert, showing how the barren waste looked just a few years before and what it might look like in the near future.
What You Can Do
Mongolia has its own plans to help alleviate the current crises, including using the downy fur of other, less destructive animals, like camels and yaks for export rather than cashmere. However, at the moment, Mongolia exports more than 50 percent of its cashmere to China and has other markets in countries around the world, including the United States. So in the meantime, when you next find yourself shopping for that trendy scarf or cardigan, opt for something more environmentally friendly.
January 23 (Huffington Post UK) In recent years there has been an increased public interest in ethical and sustainable fashion. Events such as the collapse of Rana Plaza, Bangladesh in 2013, causing the death of 1,120 garment workers, combined with growing awareness of the huge environmental impact of the global fashion industry, have led to greater concern about who, what, where and how of clothes production.
Where consumers have led, manufacturers and retailers have followed, with a number of popular high street names producing so called 'sustainable' ranges, such as Zara's Join Life Collection. It is easy to dismiss such efforts as a cynical ploy to retain, or even grow, market shares, with initiatives around eco-friendly clothing providing an excuse to pedal new lines: something else for customers to buy, leaving everyone involved with a sense of piety.
This was certainly my initial attitude towards Selfridges' current 'Material World: Clothes with a Conscience' promotion. Last year, the company won the 'World's Best Sustainability Campaign by a Department Store Award' at the Global Department Store Summit and this promotion signals its intent to excel in this area again. Its stated vision is to encourage questions about the negative impact of eight popular materials, each of which is paired with a sustainable alternative - which of course are also stocked by the store.
As I scrolled through the list, I saw examples that I was already pretty familiar with accompanied by illustrative comparisons. A pair of jeans, for example, 'requires 11,000 litres of water during its lifecycle - that's enough water to sustain a family of four for a month'. The answer, claim Selfridges, it to 'champion innovative new wash methods', which conscious consumers can do by purchasing Tortoise denim from the store (price range £280 to £480).
However, while the damaging environmental effects of cotton, denim and leather are relatively well-known, the final material mentioned in Selfridges' initiative took me a little by surprise: cashmere. This soft wool, harvested from goats in the plains of Asia, has a long history of being a luxury fabric. The length of time taken to acquire a decent size fleece and the processes required to turn the raw product into the finished goods have meant it retained its premium even as the cost of other materials, such as cotton, declined in the twentieth century.
Many of the items produced in cashmere, from hot water bottles to bed-socks to jumpers in the palest, most delicate shades, reinforce this association with luxury. It continues to be regarded as an investment choice, the antithesis of fast fashion. As such, it's easy to assume that cashmere is therefore a good sustainable choice.
Yet even this material has become much cheaper in recent decades. One can pick up a cashmere jumper from several different high street stores for around the £50 mark nowadays. These more easily affordable versions, particularly the pioneering range sold by Marks and Spencer, seemed revolutionary when they were released but we have quickly become accustomed to the lower price tag. Phrases like 'affordable luxury' abound in marketing literature.
This change reflects some of the major developments that have shaped global markets in last thirty years or so. The collapse of the USSR meant Mongolian herders could more easily sell their fleeces to the outside world, while at the same time - as in so many other areas - China has become a major producer of cashmere. Increased supply and increased demand also feed upon one another: more Mongolians have turned to grazing goats as it is a profitable industry. Goats breed quickly too (who knew?). In a recent report for National Public Radio in the US, one nomadic herder complained that her twenty animals quickly became 150: 'I don't want that many', she said, 'They're just taking over.'
Indeed cashmere goats are taking over much of Mongolia. The same report claimed that in the late 1980s, they made up 19% of all livestock in the country; that figure now stands at 60%. The impact of this is extremely damaging. Cashmere goats have sharp hooves that cut through the soil. They also rip the grass up by its roots when eating, meaning it cannot thrive. This, along with the effects of climate change, is annihilating the habitat.
However there are solutions. The grasslands will flourish again if they are less intensely grazed by cashmere goats. Alternative livestock includes camels and yaks, both of whom have hair which is very similar to cashmere when processed but wreak less havoc on the ground. Western consumers (and the burgeoning Chinese middle class) can help by switching allegiance to these similar materials, making the market for yak and camel hair more lucrative and thus encouraging those at the other end of the chain in Mongolia to switch too.
This is exactly what Selfridges is attempting doing. Their 'Material World' entry on this topic states 'no, no - it's yakshmere darling!' before explaining that 'Overgrazing of cashmere goats is leaving nearly 90 per cent of Mongolia's pasture land in danger of desertification.' 'Let's find alternative luxury fibres for more sustainable style' is their rallying cry, and while it's easy to sneer at the price of the specific alternatives that they suggest (£95 to £1,200), Selfridges warrant recognition for their efforts to raise consumer awareness. As well as reports and analysis from the frontline of fashion, we need the fashion mainstream to be on board in order to share messages about sustainability with consumers and to help shift market demand. Last year and this, Selfridges is leading the way among the major department stores of Britain's capital.
Ulaanbaatar, January 23 (MONTSAME) The Mongolian Skills 2016 competition wrapped up on Friday with a ceremony to grant certificates to the winners. The chosen participants will receive training at home and in Germany to further compete for the pass to take part in the 44th WorldSkills bianniel competition, to be held in Abu Dhabi on October 14-19.
The Mongolian Skills competition took place in two stages. Students from the vocational training centers of Ulaanbaatar and localities participated in the first stage. The second stage challenged the finalists in five categories, namely, Plumbing, Heating, Carpentry, Electrical Installations and Cabinet-making.
There are two winners in each category. They are receiving training in Mongolia and Germany to improve their speciliazed skills. Only one of all winners will have a chance to represent Mongolia in the Abu Dhabi WorldSkills 2017.
Mongolia joined the WorldSkills International in 2014 as its 69th member, and sent participants to compete in nine categories of Sao Paolo World Skills 2015.
The Minister of Labor and Social Welfare N.Nomtoibayar delivered an opening speech and wished success to the Mongolian Skills 2016 winners.
Ulaanbaatar, January 23 (MONTSAME) An ordinary shepherd from the pristine steppe of Mongolia is representing his country at the 2017 World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships to be held in South Island of New Zealand on February 8-11.
His name is Enkhnasan (Nasa) Chuluunbaatar. Nasa comes from a nomadic herding background in Bulgan province.
Nasa's participant profile reads:
"His family's herd consists of several hundred sheep and goats, along with their horses and cattle.
Most herders would have at least a couple of hundred sheep, and generally each herder and their extended family will shear their own sheep.
They use large scissors (not blades) to shear the sheep, usually tying their legs together and doing first one side then the other, outside on bare ground.
The sheep in Mongolia are fat-tailed and generally have coarse or semi-coarse wool. There are quite a number of different breeds (the most common is called Khalkha), but all variations of a type most similar to Awassi here in NZ. Wool is of little value and colours (they are often multi-coloured) or parts of the fleece are not separated after shearing.
Nasa moved to New Zealand in 2012 to live in Golden Bay, the hometown of his Kiwi wife. That year, he learnt to machine shear here in NZ and since then, has been shearing in his local area.
Nasa and Zoe have two sons, Tushinbayar (4) and Temulen (2). They will be moving back to Mongolia in the near future and Nasa plans to put the machine shearing skills he has learnt here to good use in his home country.
His experience of competition shearing is limited to shows in the South Island, having moved into the Senior grade this season.
Nasa's interests include wrestling and horse racing, the major national sports in Mongolia. His father has bred and trained some very successful horses in their area. In New Zealand, he has been introduced to seafood and enjoys fishing".
The team manager at the World Shearing Championships Zoe Leetch wrote that the team could not locate another Mongolian shearer or woodhandler "at competition level anywhere".
January 23 (news.mn) The sons of some Mongolian judo champions have competed in the junior category of the National Jiu Jitsu Championship. The event took place in Ulaanbaatar at the weekend. More than 100 children including T.Manlai, son of 'Olympic' champion N.Tuvshinbayar and Ts.Khovor-Erdene, son of judo world champion Kh.Tsagaanbaatar, as well as B.Erdene-chuluun, son of international master of sport Ch.Boldbaatar, have competed in the junior categories.
T.Manlai, eldest son of 'Olympic' champion N.Tuvshinbayar was defeated by B.Shijirbat, his first opponent, in the 25kg category. He is practicing judo following his 'hero' father at the Jenko club. Also, Ts.Khovor-Erdene, son of judo world champion Kh.Tsagaanbaatar, shed tears after being defeated by his first opponent B.Sededragchaa. This was their first Jiu Jitsu competition.
Regarding their dads: N.Tuvshinbayar won gold in the men's +85kg category of the National Jiu Jitsu Championship and Kh.Tsagaanbaatar won silver in the men's under 85 kg category.
January 23 (International Federation of Muaythai Amateur) Mongolian Olympic Committee celebrated its 60th anniversary last month where it awarded athletes and sports officials which made a notable contribution into development of the image of Mongolia.
Muaythai was one of the participants of the night and the President of the MMF Mr. Ochirbat Altanpurev was in attendance receiving the honorary medal from the MOC President Mr. Zagdsuren.
It's been an honour and motivation for Mongolian athletes to excel and show their best at the upcoming World Championships in Minsk which kicks off in three months.
Mongolian muaythai is a strong IFMA and FAMA member. They work hard towards Minsk and AIMAG and it's their vision and dream to have at least one Mongolian athlete at the World Games 2017.
IFMA wishes Mongolia good luck and to be the best version of themselves in Minsk!
Ulaanbaatar, January 23 (MONTSAME) Amateurs of motosport in Dornod aimag will take part in 'Harbin-2017' off-road auto racing. They were entitled with a right to compete at the upcoming competition by winning special prize at an auto racing in Ergun city of Inner Mongolia after competed with 55 riders of 5 countries.
The Harbin auto racing will be held next month for the 12th year. "We need much time to prepare for the race including equipping our cars. We have completed 50 per cent of the preparation, mobilizing own resources and possibilities" said head of the Union of motosport amateurs in Dornod aimag G.Ariunbold.
They believe that experiences and practices in natural steppe will give favor to them to race for long distance on bumpy roads. The union is newly established and the rally is their first international big competition.
Two researchers from the Open University are to take part in one the world's most challenging motor rallies.
January 23 (MK Citizen) Ilaria Tiddi, 28 and Emanuele Bastianelli, 34, both from Italy, will be driving thousands of miles across Europe from Milton Keynes to Mongolia, while also raising funds for a charity helping to feed those facing hunger.
The duo are preparing their ageing Renault Clio for the journey in July, to take part in the Mongol Rally.
The non-competitive event will take them, and many other participants, across mountains, deserts and other tough terrain, as they head towards the East.
Ilaria said: "We want to promote ourselves as the team that takes 'Milton Keynes to Mongolia', in order to give visibility to the city we live in and to represent its cultural activities.
"Our idea is also to be included in the celebrations for the MK 50th anniversary."
The duo are fundraising for Mary's Meals, a charity that fights hunger by providing meals to schools in food-vulnerable areas such as Africa and South East Asia, and Cool Earth, the rally's nominated charity.
They have already held a number of events and will continue this year, and have adopted a Liberian school through Mary's Meals, and hope to feed its pupils for an entire year.
Angling Exploration Group, February 2008
Subject Category: Destination & Regional Videos
Binding Type: DVD
Retail Price: $19.99
Join the Trout Bum's as they travel to Mongolia for an action-packed fly fishing adventure. Go to the land of Ghengis Khan in search of the fish locals refer to as River Wolf, the Taimen. Some of the most creative & exciting fly fishing footage ever shot; flies the size of squirrels are used on the largest species of Salmonid in the world! Extremely remote rivers, filmed entirely in HD & provides a first person look into a 2 month trip into the Mongolian high-lands! 120 min
Join the Trout Bum's as they travel to Mongolia in another action-packed fly fishing DVD. This adventure takes the crew to the land of Ghengis Khan in search of the fish locals refer to as River Wolf, the Taimen. Watch some of the most creative & exciting fly fishing footage ever shot, as the AEG crew throws flies the size of squirrels at the largest species of Salmonid in the world! The characters hike, paddle, & float on extremely remote rivers & even claim a first decent by a westerner on one of their trips. This new DVD was filmed entirely in High Definition & provides the viewer with a first person look at AEG's 2 month trip into the Mongolian high-lands, the good & the bad!
Country's national sport is dominated by Mongolian wrestlers
by ALASTAIR GALE
TOKYO, January 23 (WSJ)—Japan's national sport of sumo, racked by scandals in recent years and dominated by Mongolian wrestlers, is finally getting a local champion again.
On Monday, an advisory panel to the Japan Sumo Association recommended the elevation of Kisenosato to the rank of yokozuna, or grand champion, the first Japanese-born wrestler to be promoted to the top tier of the sport since 1998.
The association's board of directors will formally announce the decision on Wednesday. In a news conference late Monday, Kisenosato, who goes by one name like most sumo wrestlers, said he would work hard to live up to the new rank.
"I need to get stronger to show my gratitude," he said.
The 30-year-old joins three Mongolians as the top-ranked fighters in sumo after winning his first tournament last week. The victory was only the third by a Japanese wrestler since January 2006. Mongolians have bagged 61 of 64 titles.
The dominance of Mongolians has led to soul searching in the sport about Japan's inability to produce a top-ranked wrestler, resembling angst in the U.K. over its dearth of Wimbledon tennis champions until Andy Murray became the first British man to win the title in 77 years in 2013.
The malaise in sumo has been compounded by an array of match-fixing and other scandals involving wrestlers in recent years.
Hopes of a local revival were fueled when another Japanese wrestler won last year's new-year tournament, the first Japanese win since 2006. The sumo schedule is centered on six major tournaments held around Japan each year.
Despite lack of Japanese yokozuna, sumo tournaments are nationally televised and tickets sell out.
Some sumo watchers had questioned whether Kisenosato could reach the top level of the sport after being stuck at the second-ranked ozeki level for more than 30 tournaments. He has a reputation for being weak under pressure after finishing runner-up in 12 tournaments.
The withdrawal of two of the Mongolian yokozuna from the latest tournament helped Kisenosato land his first title and win promotion. The last Japanese yokozuna retired in 2003.
The pressure for Kisenosato to keep winning will be relentless. Sumo wrestlers at the yokozuna rank can't be demoted and are instead expected to retire if they can't live up to their billing.
"Yokozuna is a rank that carries responsibility. Defeats mean the end," Kisenosato said.
SUMO/ Kisenosato to end long drought of Japan-born yokozuna – The Asahi Shimbun, January 23
January 23 (We Got This Covered) The Eagle Huntress is a brilliant fusion of Pixar's Brave and Dreamworks' How to Train Your Dragon. Except it's all real. This is a tale of a young girl battling against sexist tribal elders to become the first eagle huntress; besting her rivals, proving herself against the elements and battling against the odds.
The raw material of isolated Mongolian eagle hunters makes for a potent cinematic cocktail: not just authentic and uplifting, but inherently visually exciting. It's perhaps no wonder that Ice Age director Chris Wedge has signed on to direct an all-star animated adaptation of the same story.
With its subject's snowballing fame (and high hopes for the film in awards season), its humble origins are increasingly faintly surreal. It began with photographer Asher Svidensky heading to Mongolia to document the lives of Kazakh eagle hunters, a trip which produced a striking picture of a young girl in full eagle hunter uniform.
That young girl is Aisholpan, the 13-year-old daughter of an experienced eagle hunter living a mostly isolated nomadic existence. Back in London, corporate film and ad director Otto Bell saw her photo, realized the potential of the story and promptly invested his life savings into making this documentary. Purchasing equipment and hiring experienced photographers, he headed out to Mongolia in the hopes of getting this all on film.
Serendipitously he met Aisholpan and her family on the very day they were heading into the mountains to capture an eaglet for her to train. This was just the first bit of a luck in a production that the gods appear to have smiled upon, Aisholpan's real life story mapping perfectly onto an inspirational, heroic template. Guided by narration from Star Wars alumni Daisy Ridley, we follow her as she trains her eagle, is the first girl ever to compete in the Golden Eagle Festival and endures the icy steppes as she pursues her quarry.
This makes for a series of dazzling images, Bell and his crew brilliantly capturing the awesome, austere beauty of the steppes. It looks a bit sci-fi, as if Aisholpan and her family are colonists on some distant wind-blasted planet. Drone shots and long distance photography underline the insignificance of individuals within this epic landscape, but any sense of futility or desperation is neatly undercut by the powerful symbolic imagery of a young girl taming an eagle, a condensed manifestation of all that's windswept, majestic and wild.
The frequent shots of the eagle in flight look magnificent, from the whoosh of air as Aisholpan hurls the eagle aloft, its graceful power as it cuts through the air and finally, the termination as it zeroes in on Aisholpan, who beams with happiness as the gigantic raptor thuds onto her arm. It's marvellous filmmaking: conjuring up involuntary gasps of awe from audiences.
Bubbling under these visual delights is a pleasantly straightforward feminism. Bell wryly cuts away from Aisholpan looking at entirely home in the wilderness to a series of pompous tribal elders in ridiculous costumes. They archly explain that a girl could never become an eagle huntress as they're too fragile, too easily scared, cannot bond with the bird and anyway, it's just not done. As such, watching Aisholpan bust through these various glass ceilings (leaving those stuffy elders grumpily speechless) is fist-pump worthy cinema.
You couldn't ask for a better vehicle for the film's gentle yet firm politics than Aisholpan: a fierce feminist by instinct rather than education. Her and her father's simple observations that there's no reason women can't do what men have traditionally done efficiently bulldozes through the calcified dogma and strictures of nomadic tradition on the steppes. It makes the film pointed without being strident, Bell recognizing that the narrative and imagery speaks for itself and trusting his audience to make up their own minds.
You couldn't ask for more than The Eagle Huntress provides. It's a stellar documentary from top to bottom, and in betting his life savings on its success, director Otto Bell has hit the jackpot.
The Eagle Huntress Review: GREAT
Feminist by nature rather than design and consistently visually dazzling, The Eagle Huntress is top flight documentary cinema.
January 23 (UB Post) The Embassy Restaurant will hold a jazz concert on January 24.
Talented Mongolian artists will famous renowned jazz songs at the event.
Where: The Embassy Restaurant
When: January 24, 6:00 p.m.
More Information: 88115630
Trip Dates: June 10 – 25, 2017
Amazing Mongolian Adventure with Dr. Chris Atwood, one of the foremost Mongolia Experts, as your personal guide.
We invite you to join us on this exclusive adventure to discover Mongolia with Dr. Christopher Atwood of University of Pennsylvania, USA, who is one of the leading international experts in the study of Mongolia.
With a focus on history, nomadic heritage, flora and fauna and geography, this is one of our most comprehensive quests for discovering Mongolia.
Our trip begins with a flight north to the Lake Hovsgol, Mongolia's "mother ocean" which contains world's 1% fresh water source. The lake is considered as the headwater to the Lake Baikal located not far in Siberia and is one of the oldest lakes in the world.
The journey then continues overland to the 13th century Mongolian capital site of Kharakhorum in Orhon Valley, down south to the Gobi desert where our trip concludes. This ambiteous off-the-beaten-path quest will take us through some of the most diverse ecosystems of Mongolia.
We will examine ancient burial sites, historical landmarks, Buddhist monasteries, nomadic families and paleontological localities with series of interesting lectures provided by Dr. Atwood along the way. We will also have the opportunity to fish, trek and ride horse and camels while enjoying meeting local nomads along the way.
June 10 - Arrival
Arrive in Mongolia, visit Sukhbaatar Square, Zaisan Hill and the orientation dinner.
June 11 - Explore Ulaanbaatar
City tour, Gandan Monastery, the National History Museum, Zanabazar Historical Art Museum and other sights.
June 12-14 Lake Hovsgol National Park
Fly out and spend three days a magnificient lake Hovsgol, southern border of the Siberian larch forest. Enjoy horseback riding, nature treks, water sports.
June 15 Murun & Lake Erhel
Spend the morning beard watching in lake Erhel sanctuary, explore the regional capital of Murun before flying to UB for the next leg of the trek
June 16 Hustain Nuruu National Park
Leave early in the morning to drive to Hustai National Park and see amazing wildlife, including the rate Takhi or Preswalski horses, brought back from extinction.
June 17 Kharakhorum - The Ancient Capital
Explore the ancient capital of the Mongol Empire, visit the national museum and archeological sites.
June 18- Erdenezuu and Tovkhon Monasteries
Morning visit to Erdenezuu Monastery, one of the most beautiful monasteries in Mongolia. Next visit Tovkon Monastery, founded by Zanabazar and home of spectacular mountain views.
June 19 - Nomadic Family Visit
Start the morning with a visit to a nomadic horse herding family, learning about traditional lifestyles. Along the way stop at the ruins of Ongi Monastery, key stop on the ancient Silk Road.
June 20 Hongoryn Els Sand Dunes
Spend the day climbing some of the largest sand dunes in the world, visiting camel herders and riding camels in the desert.
June 21 Havtsgait Petroglyphs
Explore the ancient bronze age site with amazing petroglyphs and mountains vistas.
June 22 Flaming Cliffs & Dinosaurs
Spend the morning hiking in the yol valley, home of some amazing wildlife, including the giant vultures. Spend the afternoon dinosaur hunting along the Flaming Cliffs.
June 23 - - UB Cultural performance
Return to Ulaanbaatar for some last minute shopping. In the evening participate in a traditional music and dance performance and a farewell dinner
June 25 – Return
Farewell breakfast and departure
This program is jointly provided by the ACMS and Mongolia Quest.
Suite 303, Level 3, Elite Complex
14 Chinggis Avenue, Sukhbaatar District 1
Ulaanbaatar 14251, Mongolia
Office: +976 7711 6779
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