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Wednesday, January 18, 2017
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Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original
XAM was up 10% on Jan 16, down 4.5% to A$0.21
The intersection represents a significant development for Xanadu's exploration efforts.
January 16 (Proactive Investors) Xanadu Mines (ASX:XAM) has discovered a new porphyry named Altan Burged with its first diamond hole within the Kharmagtai copper-gold district, in the South Gobi region of Mongolia.
Drill hole KHDDH395 intersected 220 metres at 0.64 g/t gold and 0.15% copper including 26 metres at 2.27 g/t gold from 42 metres.
The 26 metre section is shallow higher-grade gold mineralisation hosted in oxide cap above a mineralised porphyry.
Drilling will continue to delineate the near surface oxide enrichment zone and locate the highest-grade primary portions of this new porphyry discovery at Kharmagtai.
Dr Andrew Stewart, managing director, commented: "The results of this first diamond drill hole are very exciting.
"The discovery of a new porphyry centre under cover adds further weight to the geological model for the Kharmagtai district as an emerging porphyry district comprising multiple centres of copper-gold and gold mineralisation."
Xanadu is the owner of Mongolia's largest undeveloped copper-gold deposit, has committed to spending more than $4.5 million on exploration across its advanced porphyry copper-gold projects in the world class South Gobi porphyry Belt in 2017.
The planned exploration programs, among the largest to be undertaken by a junior ASX-listed exploration company next year, will target the discovery of additional copper-gold deposits on the company's South Gobi porphyry projects at Kharmagtai and Oyut Ulaan.
The Kharmagtai copper-gold project's previous exploration has focused on the three outcropping porphyry deposits: Altan Tolgoi, Tsagaan Sudal and Zesen Uul - where Xanadu has already defined over 1.5 million pounds of copper and over 2 million ounces of gold.
Away from these three deposits the prospective rocks of the Kharmagtai igneous complex are covered by either younger unconsolidated gravels or are obscured by younger volcanic rocks.
To date, over 11,140 metres of drilling has been conducted.
The significance of this cannot be understated considering 70% of the lease is covered shallow sediment and the outcropping 30% contains three known porphyry centres.
KHDDH395 diamond hole details
The first diamond drill hole at the Altan Burged porphyry intersected 220 metres grading 0.64 g/t gold and 0.15% copper from 42 metres, which includes 102 metres grading 1.0 g/t gold and 0.16% copper from 42 metres.
This broad intercept includes a shallow zone of supergene gold enrichment of 26 metres grading 2.27g/t gold from 42 metres.
Both oxide and primary gold and copper mineralisation have been intersected in the hole.
The current exploration target dimensions are 500 metres long by 300 metres wide and initial drilling indicates that there is potential for Altan Burged to host a significant high‐grade porphyry gold-copper deposit.
The intersection in KHDDH395 represents a significant development for Xanadu's ongoing exploration efforts within the Kharmagtai district.
While exploration of this emerging porphyry centre is still at an early stage, the width, intensity of alteration and porphyry stockwork mineralisation and tenor of the gold mineralisation intersected is encouraging.
The discovery validates Xanadu's under cover targeting methods and the importance of these techniques as key exploration tools in unlocking the potential of the large porphyry district.
The current diamond drill program will now focus on delineating the near surface oxide gold enrichment zone and target the highest-grade primary portions of this new porphyry system.
Xanadu is up 10% intra-day and up 100% over the past 12 months, currently trading at $0.22.
The company is also expecting to release the results of an extensive trenching program at Oyut Ulaan before the end of the month.
Change of Principal Administrative Office in Mongolia – Xanadu Mines, January 12
TRQ down 0.29% Tuesday to US$3.42. US markets closed Monday for MLK day
VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwired - January 16, 2017) - Turquoise Hill Resources today announced fourth quarter 2016 production for Oyu Tolgoi.
Jeff Tygesen, Turquoise Hill Chief Executive Officer, said, "Oyu Tolgoi's operations performed very well during 2016, running at record levels for material mined and ore treated. Oyu Tolgoi also exceeded both copper and gold production guidance for the year. Concentrator performance during the fourth quarter was strong with the highest throughput since production began. Oyu Tolgoi is well-positioned to sustain the 2017 grade challenges."
In Q4'16, concentrator throughput increased 7.4% over Q3'16 resulting in an average daily rate of 106,700 tonnes for the quarter, which was a quarterly high. Copper production in Q4'16 was broadly consistent with Q3'16 while Q4'16 gold production increased 32.4% over Q3'16 due to the final processing of Phase 2 ore. Copper grades in Q4'16 were as expected as operations focused mainly on Phase 6 of the open pit.
Oyu Tolgoi is expected to produce 130,000 to 160,000 tonnes of copper in concentrates and 100,000 to 140,000 ounces of gold in concentrates for 2017.
During Q4'16, the underground project workforce ramped up to over 2,000 people and progress was made in key areas including Shafts 2 and 5 related activities and construction of critical on-site facilities while the bulk excavation component for the convey-to-surface work stream was completed. Lateral development rates are progressing well with a further increase expected in 2017 when additional underground crushing capacity is added.
Oyu Tolgoi Production Data
All data represents full production and sales on a 100% basis
Oyu Tolgoi: Creating long-term value at world's best developing copper project
Mogi: Novel is in turn owned by China Cinda Asset Management, China government's distressed asset management co. 2015 Annual Report
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Jan. 11, 2017) - Novel Sunrise Investments Limited (Novel Sunrise) announced that earlier today, but with effect from December 31, 2016, it completed the documentation of the sale of 25,768,162 common shares (the Purchased Shares) of SouthGobi Resources Ltd. (SouthGobi) to Voyage Wisdom Limited (Voyage Wisdom) pursuant to Voyage Wisdom's exercise of the call option contained in the option agreement between Novel Sunrise, Voyage Wisdom and the shareholders of Voyage Wisdom made as of April 15, 2016 (as amended by extension agreements dated April 21, 2016 and October 21, 2016, and as further amended and supplemented by a Settlement Agreement entered into on January 11, 2017, which is deemed to take effect as of December 31, 2016 (the Settlement Agreement)), for a total purchase price of RMB166,773,600 (equivalent to US$24,000,000 and Cdn$32,162,400 as at December 21, 2016) (the Consideration).
The Consideration was paid to, and accepted by, Novel Sunrise on December 21, 2016 in Chinese yuan renminbi (RMB), notwithstanding that the Option Agreement provided that the Consideration would be paid in US dollars. Under the terms of the Settlement Agreement, Voyage Wisdom has agreed that either (i) it will procure payment of US$24,000,000 to Novel Sunrise on or before December 31, 2017 (at which point the RMB paid as the Consideration would be refunded), or (ii) if such US$24,000,000 is not paid to Novel Sunrise on or before December 31, 2017, it will compensate Novel Sunrise in RMB for any foreign exchange decline in the USD value of the Consideration from December 21, 2016 to December 31, 2017.
Novel Sunrise agreed to sell the Purchased Shares to Voyage Wisdom in order to provide the shareholders of Voyage Wisdom, each of whom is a member of the senior management team of SouthGobi, with a significant equity position in SouthGobi in order to provide them with additional incentive to promote SouthGobi's interests and better align their interests with the interests of SouthGobi's shareholders.
As a result of its sale of the Purchased Shares, Novel Sunrise currently owns and controls 46,358,978 common shares of SouthGobi, representing 17.99% of the issued and outstanding common shares of SouthGobi.
Cash at end of Q A$145K. HAR last traded A$0.003 on November 18
January 18 -- Haranga Resources Limited ('the Company') is pleased to report on its activities for the December 2016 quarter.
During the quarter, the Company announced several Board changes giving rise to an opportunity for the Company to review its strategy for the next stage of its development given current investor sentiment towards Mongolia and specifically iron ore assets.
As part of this strategy, during the quarter, the reconstituted Board commenced a program to reduce overhead costs and in addition "related parties" including the directors and company secretary continued the deferment of payment of directors fees/professional fees.
The Board continues to actively pursue other opportunities to restore shareholder value as well as looking at other funding options for the Company's projects.
On 2 November 2016, the Company announced a non-renounceable rights issue of one (1) share for every three (3) shares held by shareholders at the record date at an issue price of $0.003 per share to raise up to $448,165 (before costs).
The rights issue closed on 22 November 2016 with the Company receiving valid acceptances for the issue of 36,361,575 new shares to raise approximately $109,085 before costs.
On 14 October 2016, the Company announced the resignation or Mr Michael Riady.
On 24 October 2016, the Company announced the resignation of Mr Erdene Tsengelbayar.
On 17 November 2016, the Company announced the resignation of Mr Marshall Cooper.
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Jan. 13, 2017) - Entrée Gold Inc. (TSX:ETG)(NYSE MKT:EGI)(FRANKFURT:EKA) - ("Entrée" or the "Company") is pleased to announce that it has closed the second and final tranche of the non-brokered private placement announced on December 15, 2016 (the "Financing").
The Company has issued a further 1,219,513 units at a price of C$0.41 per unit, for additional gross proceeds of C$500,000. In total, the Company issued 18,529,484 units for aggregate gross proceeds of C$7,597,088.44. The first tranche closed on January 11, 2017 (see Company's news release of same date).
Each unit (a "Unit") consists of one common share of the Company and one-half of one transferable common share purchase warrant (each whole warrant, a "Warrant"). Each Warrant will entitle the holder to acquire one additional common share of the Company (a "Warrant Share") at a price of C$0.65 per share for a period of 5 years. No commissions or finders' fees are payable in connection with the Financing. The securities issued in connection with the second tranche of the Financing are subject to a hold period expiring May 14, 2017.
Vancouver, British Columbia, January 16 (FSCwire) - Prophecy Development Corp. ("Prophecy" or the "Company") (TSX:PCY, OTCPK:PRPCF, Frankfurt:1P2N) announces that for nominal consideration of $1, Linx Partners Ltd. ("Linx"), a company controlled by John Lee, Executive Chairman of Prophecy, has agreed to accrue and postpone the repayment of any principal, interest and fees due under the $2.5 million revolving credit facility agreement between itself and the Company dated March 12, 2015, as amended (the "Credit Facility") until the earlier of October 1, 2017, or such time as the Company is in a reasonable financial position to repay all or a portion of the amounts owing.
In addition, subject to TSX approval, the Company and Linx have entered into a Debt Settlement Agreement to settle most of the outstanding balance owing by the Company to Linx under the Credit Facility, by issuing 300,000 Common shares in the capital of the Company to Mr. Lee, in satisfaction of $900,000 of indebtedness owing by the Company under the Credit Facility. The Company filed TSX Form 11A - Price Protection Form for this transaction on November 30, 2016.
The Company expects to use the Credit Facility to among other things, develop its Pulacayo project towards production.
The Company also announces that it has closed, subject to TSX approval, a non-brokered private placement (the "Placement") involving the issuance of 49,999 units (each a "Unit") at a price of $3.00 per Unit. Each Unit consists of one Common share in the capital of the Company (a "Share") and one Share purchase warrant (a "Warrant"). Each Warrant entitles the holder to acquire an additional Share at a price of $4.00 per Share for a period of five years from the date of issuance. The Shares will be subject to a minimum hold period of four months plus one day from the date of issue. The Company paid in cash, finder's fees totaling $8,000. Proceeds of the Placement are expected to be used to develop Prophecy's mineral projects and for general working capital purposes.
The Company further announces that pursuant to the terms of its 2016 Share-Based Compensation Plan which was approved by shareholders at the Company's last annual general meeting of shareholders held on June 2, 2016, it has granted in aggregate, 39,000 bonus shares at a deemed price of $4.88 per bonus share and 91,000 incentive stock options (the "Options"), to various directors, officers and consultants of the Company. The Options are exercisable at a price of $4.88 per Common share for a term of five years expiring on January 12, 2022 and vest at 12.5% per quarter for the first two years following the date of grant.
Vancouver, British Columbia, January 16 (FSCwire) - Prophecy Development Corp. ("Prophecy" or the "Company") (TSX:PCY, OTC:PRPCF, Frankfurt:1P2N) announces that John Lee, of Suite 1301, 12 Harcourt Road, Central, Hong Kong, Executive Chairman of the Company, acquired 30,000 options to purchase shares of Prophecy and 18,000 shares as a performance bonus on January 12, 2017, and acquired 300,000 shares via a debt settlement private placement, and disposed of 450,000 shares through two private sales on January 13, 2016 (collectively, the "Transactions").
Prior to the Transactions, Mr. Lee beneficially owned 1,127,253 shares, representing approximately 23.45% of the issued and outstanding shares of the Company.
As a result of the Transactions, Mr. Lee now beneficially owns and exercises control over an aggregate of 995,253 shares representing an interest of approximately 19.12% of the Company's currently issued and outstanding shares, and 30.62% of the Company's shares on a fully diluted basis assuming exercise of all of the Company's outstanding share purchase warrants.
The securities were acquired or disposed of by Mr. Lee for investment purposes only, and not for purposes of exercising control or direction over the Company.
Generally, Mr. Lee intends to evaluate his investment in the Company and to increase or decrease his shareholdings as circumstances require, depending on market conditions and other factors, through market transactions, private agreements or otherwise.
The information contained in this news release has been provided by Mr. Lee and the Company is not responsible for its accuracy.
TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - January 16, 2017) - Centerra Gold Inc. (TSX: CG) announced today that 2016 consolidated gold production totalled 598,677 ounces of gold, which includes gold production from the Mount Milligan mine for the period October 20, 2016 (acquisition date) to December 31, 2016. This includes 550,960 ounces of gold from the Kumtor mine, located in the Kyrgyz Republic and 47,717 ounces of gold from the Mount Milligan mine, located in northern British Columbia, Canada.
2017 Gold Production
The Mongolian operations will continue with care and maintenance activities at the Boroo mine mainly focusing on reclamation work. Any revenue from Boroo gold production from the rinsing of the heap leach pad will be offset against care and maintenance costs. The 2017 production forecast assumes no gold production from Boroo, Gatsuurt or Öksüt.
2017 Capital Expenditures
Mongolia (Boroo and Gatsuurt)
In Mongolia 2017 sustaining capital1 expenditures are expected to be minimal and growth capital1 expenditures are estimated at $5 million which covers costs for additional studies and capitalized project support and administration costs related to the Gatsuurt Project.
MSE Trading Report, Jan 17: Top 20 -0.02%, ALL -0.07%, Turnover ₮29.2 Million Shares, ₮6.5 Billion T-Bills
January 17 (MSE) --
January 17 (MSE) On 17 January 2017, 28 weeks Government bonds /17.68% annual coupon rate/, 104 weeks Government bonds /18.00% annual coupon rate/ total worth MNT 7.02 billion traded at Mongolian Stock Exchange.
Bellow member brokerage companies participated in bonds trading as follows:
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 17 (Bank of Mongolia) Spot trade: Commercial banks bid weighted average rate of MNT2482.77 for USD4.4 million and weighted average rate of MNT356.32 for CNY53.0 million respectively. The BoM sold CNY 9.0 million with a closing rate of MNT361.16.
Swap and forward trade: The BoM received buying bid offers of USD1.0 million of MNT swap agreements from commercial banks and the BoM did not accept the bid offers.
January 16 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 216.3 billion at a weighted interest rate of 14.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/
Mogi: why write anything when you don't know anything
January 12 (Forbes) Once upon a time Mongolia was happening. Mining firms from Australia, China, Russia and North America were digging up the vast country for the likes of gold and copper. People had jobs and money to spend. Then in 2014 foreign investment began to fall along with a global decline in commodity prices. China's step back made a particular impact because it was Mongolia's top investment source.
Expect another dismal 2017, maybe no growth at all, sending people deeper into poverty and prompting a desperate search for a stronger national economic model.
"There is no silver bullet to address Mongolia's structural challenges and repeat the boom years," says Lee Cashell, CEO of one of the largest real estate development companies in Mongolia. "If Mongolia is to benefit from increased commodity demand, its market will need to respond more effectively to improved global pricing."
The International Monetary Fund forecasts growth in Mongolia of around 1% this year, less than half the rate of 2016 and the lowest of seven "frontier" economies that it tracks in Asia. French investment bank Natixis expects zero growth this year in the $12 billion economy after a drop in investment last year.
"Mongolia has been enjoying rapid growth for the last few years on the back of strong Chinese demand and a commodity boom, which suddenly came to a stop in 2014 and quickly pushed the country into stagnant growth and sharply increased financial fragility," Natixis says in a Jan. 6 research note.
Minerals are selling for less around the world because of oversupply, weaker demand in China and a tandem drop in energy prices.
Reforms in China to cut pollution and overproduction of coal have raised coal prices, a boon now to Mongolia's economic outlook, Cashell notes. The restructuring of a loan at the massive Tavan Tolgoi mine could also add $2 billion in revenues to the government, the veteran investor believes.
By Noriko Inoue
TOKYO, Jan. 17 (Kyodo) -- Japan has launched a project to improve the public pension system in Mongolia, sharing its experience dealing with a rapidly aging society with a country facing a similar demographic shift.
Last autumn, 15 officials from the Mongolian central and local governments in charge of pension policy participated in a seminar in Tokyo sponsored by Japan's health ministry.
In addition, experts from Japan's Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare and the Japan Pension Service have been stationed in Mongolia to teach local officials how to operate pension systems.
Link to article (full article behind paywall)
January 16 (Jargal Dambadarjaa) Reviewed topics:
1) Air emergency
2) Smog solutions
3) Pollution politics
4) No place like home
January 13 (UB Post) During the parliamentary session held on January 12, Vice Speaker of Parliament Ts.Nyamdorj, a member of the Mongolian People's Party (MPP), proposed starting the impeachment process for President Ts.Elbegdorj, before his term is finished.
On January 11, President Ts.Elbegdorj held a press conference with the media regarding the current status of air pollution in Ulaanbaatar. The President made controversial remarks during the press conference, stating that Ulaanbaatar had become too "dangerous to live in" and had "no future", which was not received well by Vice Speaker Ts.Nyamdorj.
Ts.Nyamdorj said, "The President has stated that Ulaanbaatar has become futile and has no future, he announced that no investment should be made in Ulaanbaatar. For a person who has served for eight years as the Head of State, is it okay for him to make such remarks? We need to impeach him before his term is over. Is it appropriate for a state leader, and someone who is supposed to be a symbol of unity, to insult the capital of our country? I urge other Members of Parliament to start the process of impeachment of the President."
It is speculated that Ts.Nyamdorj is referring to the following statement made by the President during his press conference, "The pollution has reached a level where it has caused stillbirths. If this is not disastrous then what is? It has become dangerous to live in Ulaanbaatar. Ulaanbaatar has become a futile city with no future."
Ts.Elbegdorj has held the office of President since 2009 and will finish his second term in 2017. He was a Democratic Party candidate and is not legally allowed to seek re-election, as he has served the maximum of two terms.
Ulaanbaatar, January 13 (MONTSAME) A parliamentary resolution on "Approval of Guideline to improve laws and regulations of Mongolia till 2020" was adopted during yesterday's plenary session.
According to the guideline, a total of 260 laws and regulations will be developed and submitted to the parliament till 2020, including 131 in 2017 and 71 in 2018. Among them 75 laws and regulations estimated to be new, 85 will be revised and 99 will be amended. The Government expects that duplication of legislations will be removed and their correlation will be improved as a result of realizing the guidelines.
Prior to this, guidelines to improve laws and regulations were adopted four times. For example, in the last guideline of 2008-2012, 174 legislations had been planned to be developed and 93 of the planned were adopted.
Ulaanbaatar, January 17 (MONTSAME) Member of Parliament, Head of Parliamentary Standing committee on Petitionary D.Sarangerel and Member of Parliament and the committee B.Enkh-Amgalan worked at State Housing Corporation on January 17 to look over the implementation of 'Rental Apartment' program.
In accordance with relevant Cabinet resolutions, former Housing Fund Corporation was renamed State Housing Corporation.
"Majority of the petitions sent to the Standing committee on Petitionary concern environmental issues and livelihood problems. Especially, we've received thousands of petitions regarding the suspension of rental apartment program", said D.Sarangerel, inquiring into the activities of and policies realized by the State Housing Corporation.
The 'Rental Apartment' program was approved by Parliament in July, 2015, and the decision to launch the program was taken by Cabinet in February, 2016. Applicable to certain social groups including the underprivileged and disabled, the program is significant for providing rental apartments at a price cheaper than the market price.
In frames of the program, State Housing Corporation began the transfer of 929 apartments built in Ulaanbaatar and provinces which were built by order of the corporation to state rental apartment reserve, and plans to rent the apartments in compliance with the corresponding regulations.
As of present, 360 apartments built in Ulaanbaatar and Darkhan-Uul, Selenge, Khovd,Uvs and Khentii provinces have been transferred the state rental apartment reserve, but registration and selection procedures for rent haven't been executed.
State Housing Corporation is working towards realizing the 'Rental Apartment' program between 2016 and 2021, and formulating reserves of 16 thousand apartments in Ulaanbaatar and 4 thousand in provinces.
As such, Member of Parliament D.Sarangerel gave an instruction to take urgent measures directed at renting the 360 apartments which have already been transferred to state rental apartment reserve.
Ulaanbaatar, January 16 (MONTSAME) The 25th anniversary of the adoption of new Constitution of Mongolia fell on January 13, Friday. In connection with the anniversary, a meeting took place between a working group which was formed to study the possible amendment of the Constitution and deputies of former People's Great Khural who adopted the Constitution on January 13, 1992.
The 2016-2020 action plan of the Cabinet reflects a statement that the issue of the amendment of the Constitution will be studied. As such, by an ordinance of Prime Minister J.Erdenebat, a working group led by Ch.Enkhbaatar, Head of Department of Law at Mongolian Academy of Governance was formed. The working group was assigned to study whether the Constitution should be amended, and formulate a proposal. The working group will conduct a research in 21 provinces and the capital city to present the conclusion to the Cabinet within the first season of this year.
At the meeting, number of deputies expressed that it is important to let Mongolian people understand why the Constitution should be amended, and ask them if they want to amend the Constitution. Also, the deputies made suggestions regarding a new system with upper and lower parliament houses, enforcement of parliamentary system, increased independence of judicial branch and a system where President is elected by Parliament, should the Constitution be amended.
Moreover, the deputies emphasized on the need to nullify seven amendments made to the Constitution in 1999-2000, and act in compliance with the Constitution on all levels. Several deputies expressed their views that the issue of amending the Constitution should be dealt with caution, and the time for amendment hasn't come.
Mongolia's 2015 EITI Report highlights impact and gaps in mining licensing
January 13 (EITI) Amongst most tangible improvements in Mongolia's oil, gas and mining governance during the ten years of EITI implementation has been in the management of mining licenses. Yet there is still room for fine-tuning the system, the country's tenth EITI Report highlights.
Online and switched on
When Mongolia first started implementing the EITI in 2005, the government managed its licenses using a handwritten-ledger license register, operating a first-come-first-served system highly prone to human discretion. Since then, reforms supported by the World Bank following recommendations from successive EITI Reports have had a stark impact.
Long in the making, a cadastral portal came online in 2014. In 2015, what is now the Mongolian Resources and Petroleum Authority of Mongolia (MRPAM) launched a one-window registration service for exploration license applications, providing for real-time public oversight of the status of applications. Mongolia's 2015 EITI Report further clarifies the license allocation and transfer procedures for the main types of mining licenses.
Yet the latest EITI Report also identified weaknesses within the mining regulator's systems. Documents from different departments in MRPAM showed divergent numbers of license applications and transfers in 2015. An important recommendation from the report is for MRPAM to ensure consistent tracking of licenses across its departments. The UNDP's June 2016 report on corruption risks in Mongolia's mining sector is cited, noting risks in the license allocation process given the absence of an integrated data system and the lack of detailed regulations on the input of local government officials and citizens' assemblies during license awards. The report notes that the absence of detailed procedures on approving or rejecting license applications leaves space for potential human interference.
Mongolia's 2015 EITI Report comes as a diagnostic of the oil and mining sectors at a key time, following the country's first Validation under the EITI Standard. It highlights key areas for reform in the management of state-owned enterprises to the country's auditing practices, broadly in line with the new Mongolian government's reform agenda.
Access the Mongolia 2015 report.
Ulaanbaatar, January 17 (MONTSAME) Mongolian Government has now a debt of USD80 million unpaid from USD350 loan to the Aluminum Corporation of China Limited (Chalco).
65 per cent of all extracted coal from East Tsankhi block of Tavantolgoi mine has been paid back to "TTJVCO" company for its extraction work and 35 per cent has been supplied to Chalco for the loan repayment.
The Erdenes Tavantolgoi Company could not raise its coal price more than USD30, when coal price jumped to over USD200 in the world market due to the loan agreement. However the company has managed to agree with Chalco to supply coal from East Tsankhi block of Tavantolgoi at USD59.3 within the first quarter. That price is expected to be kept till the second quarter.
Mogi: perhaps someone a little more accessible should be an honorary consul, or at least have a dedicated staff
January 16 (news.mn) Mongolia has expelled a US citizen who allegedly threatened to explode a bomb in the Central Tower, located in the heart of Ulaanbaatar. In the first reports, mistaken information from people in Central Tower was that the man was a Dane wishing to enter the Canadian Embassy. The incident occurred on Monday 9th of January at 16:00 p.m. following an argument with an employee of the Danish Consulate, which is located on the 15th floor of the building. Evidently, the American wanted to see J.Od, the Danish Honourary Consul but was barred by the employee after which the bizarre threat was made.
The 51 year-old was deported from Ulaanbaatar on 10th of January after Mongolian intelligence had questioned him. Previously, he has come to Mongolia via Russia on five occasions and has no criminal records.
January 16 (news.mn) The Mongolian Immigration Agency has provided information on the number of foreign nationals currently living in Mongolia. According to the Agency, a total of 23,737 foreigners from 122 countries are living in Mongolia with official residence permission. This represents 0.79% of the population of the country. Of the foreigners, 8707 are from China, 2568 from South Korea and 2724 from Russia.
Furthermore, it has been announced that the Mongolian Immigration Agency is planning to grant visas online from this year. The Agency is also expected to establish an agreement with Interpol to link with its information system (ISM).
In 2015, Mongolia deported 666 people from 32 countries due to expired visas and 450 people from 27 countries in 2016.
By Losolsuren, Barhas (Master of Public Policy and Management (Monash University))
A THESIS SUBMITTED FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
November 10 – ABSTRACT
This study provides an exploratory analysis of the current system of public sector accountability in Mongolia. Mongolia adopted a new democratic Constitution in 1992 with a special chapter devoted to the protection of human rights. Regular elections have been held and key democratic institutions have been established. However, there is a growing dissatisfaction in Mongolia due to the inability of the government to tackle core issues of development, including poverty, inequality, corruption and environmental degradation.
Accountability of power holders to public is a defining feature of democracy. This study finds that the notion of accountability as understood in democratic societies is relatively new in Mongolia. Despite tremendous progress in all areas of development over the past two decades, the creation of accountability mechanisms which assist accountability of power holders to the public has been slow. A framework of three types of accountability was used in this study: political accountability, policy accountability, and procedural accountability.
This study finds that i) more accountability mechanisms need to be created in order to constrain the power of parliamentary majority and the executive, ii) policy process need to take policy outcomes into account to ensure policy accountability, and iii) adoption of international and commonly recognised procedural rules and regulations needs to be completed to enhance procedural accountability. In addition, an accountability framework would enable ensuring complementary nature of different types of accountability. There needs to be an institutionalised system that reviews and ensures existence of accountability mechanisms.
January 17 (IACA) IACA further deepened its ties with Mongolia and the country's Independent Authority Against Corruption (IAAC) last week when Mr. Abu Kassim bin Mohamed represented the Academy at several high-level meetings in Ulaanbaatar.
Mr. bin Mohamed, who is serving on a pro bono basis as a visiting expert at IACA, delivered a keynote address at a conference to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the IAAC. In his speech, he expressed a strong belief that Mongolia, the IAAC, and IACA can work together towards fulfilling the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through joint educational, awareness-raising, capacity-building, and technical assistance activities in the area of anti-corruption.
He also had extensive discussions with Mr. Enkhjargal Khurelsukh, the IAAC's Commissioner General, and other senior officers regarding areas of potential cooperation with IACA. At the request of the Authority, IACA is currently providing it with comments and advice regarding the potential establishment of a public oversight function for the IAAC.
Mongolia became a Party to the Agreement for the Establishment of IACA as an International Organization in June 2013, and in August of that year the IAAC and IACA signed a Memorandum of Understanding that serves as a framework for numerous joint anti-corruption activities.
Mr. bin Mohamed is also a member of IACA's Board of Governors and was previously Chief Commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.
By Jargal "DeFacto" Dambadarjaa
January 15 (UB Post) It has been exactly 70 years since Winston Churchill stated, "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." Meanwhile, Mongolians have now been experimenting with democracy for 26 years. Today, the benefits of democracy are mostly enjoyed by a small number of people in the government, rather than the people.
While democracy is based on a representative system in its early stages, it later transitions into a democracy focused on civic engagement. Mongolians seem to have the perception that electing their government representatives means all issues will be resolved. However, these supposed representatives of the people are now changing the structure of the government, not by the wishes of the people, but for their own advantage. They have been stealing so much from public funds that they have now embezzled from the future income of our country.
From the beginning of their tenure, we – the people – should have carefully assessed whether or not the people we elected were delivering on their duties, and we should have made interventions if things were not going well. Instead, what we have done is wait for the next election so we can vote for a different political party. Mongolians are coming to their senses only now, and have realized how much time and opportunity has been lost on our path to development. As a society, we have increasingly been discussing how to fix the situation we are in today, and what should be changed and improved.
What we know, and stand firmly for, is that our first and foremost priority is to get rid of the corruption deeply seated in the government. In order to combat corruption, we need to build a new culture in all government organizations. This new culture must allow and encourage everyone to report internally and externally how corruption is harming public interests.
"Whistleblowing" is the term that represents what the new culture should embrace. This refers to revealing information and exposing wrongdoings, including those that compromise the public's wellbeing.
A MEASUREMENT FOR CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT
Every citizen has the responsibility to speak out and act against any illegal action or wrongdoing, regardless of whether or not they are working for a government agency or the private sector. Rectifications can only be made when there are facts and evidence to prove a crime has been committed.
Because Mongolia is unable to stop corruption, our economy is constantly hit by crises. As a result, we are trapped in our external and internal debts and are trying to attract foreign capital at any cost. Corruption is posing a threat to our national security, but we still do not have a culture that detests corruption and is willing to reveal information. This has roots in historical reasons that are connected to our unique culture.
Nomadic and settled societies have a lot of differences. Nomads think that anything bad that has happened to other people will not happen to them. Hence, it is not a priority for nomads to fix the flaws or wrongdoings of others. In contrast, settled people believe that what happens to their neighbors matters to them. Therefore, they have a better capacity to protect shared or public interests. If the public's interests are being harmed, Mongolians have a cultural tendency to not speak up, instead of taking action or intervening. We even have a phrase that is directly translated as, "A mouse strangling itself for the state", which means that it does not matter, nor it is not necessary, to worry about bigger problems.
Even if a Mongolian was a witness to a serious crime, many would prefer to act as if they had not seen anything, instead of reporting it. One Mongolian proverb says, "Be a pillow for the dead, rather than a witness to the living." It is common for Mongolians to ignore issues and sit back thinking, "I will only mind my own business, others will raise the issue and fix it."
This way of thinking was strongly embedded in the Mongolian mindset under communist rule, when many people were punished for crimes they did not commit. People were tortured in interrogations and gave coerced statements about themselves or other people. Until 1990, Mongolians labeled people who had exposed information as betrayers, sell-outs, or informants.
We need to realize how this culture of ours has become a bad habit that shackles our development. Also, this mindset is being leveraged by those who are stealing public funds. Therefore, we need to step up and be more willing to take action and get involved.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT, RESPECT, AND PROTECTION
Since transitioning to democracy and a free market economy, Mongolians have been able to have private property and have acknowledged the need to protect public property. Although this mindset is being strengthened, there is still a lack of willingness to take action against stealing public property as long as private properties are untouched.
People are still not consciously aware of the fact that the taxes they are paying make up public funds and state property. The key reason for this is that many of us do not pay our taxes directly to the state but through an employer.
However, Mongolian society is not completely silent – we hear whistles being blown every now and then. Even though our media habitually avoids talking about certain topics, they have been discussing the air pollution in Ulaanbaatar, and have been looking for new information about what the 200 billion MNT in public funds meant to combat air pollution was spent on and by whom. Our press has also informed the public about people who have been buying expensive houses here and abroad, despite life-long careers working for government agencies. The media is talking about the billionaires born from the government.
Whistleblowing is an act of civic courage. When exposing information or wrongdoings, whistleblowers can first approach an organization, then the media and law enforcement agencies.
In most cases, whistleblowers face threats, intimidation, and acts of retaliation from whoever they have exposed. In some cases, those who have been exposed take various actions against the whistleblower, such as suing for defamation, starting a witch hunt, demoting them, or firing them.
We need to establish a culture where people understand the value of what whistleblowers do, and acknowledge the changes they can bring about for a society. In some situations, whistleblowers have to be protected. Police and judicial organizations must operate independently. Mongolia has set a trend where big criminal cases create a lot of commotion when they first break but are eventually dismissed, despite going through judicial processes.
Mature democracies have laws that protect whistleblowers. Whistleblowing laws were enacted in the United States in 1863, in England in 1998, in India in 2002, and in Canada in 2007. The Netherlands has even set up an advice center for whistleblowers, Adviespunt Klokkenluiders, to help with their protection. In 2013, major media organizations established the specially protected website Publeaks.org to connect whistleblowers to journalists.
We must monitor what the government is doing, stop corruption, and blow our whistles. Otherwise, our democracy will never mature, our economy will never overcome crises, and we will not be able to establish the principles of a free market.
Translated by B.Amar
January 13 (news.mn) Woks is the name of a Mongolian police dog 'hero'. In 2016, the three-year-old German Shepherd sniffed out 17 cases of theft and robbery. Woks was born in Mongolia in 2014 and specially over six months trained as a police dog. Police officer D.Chingel is the trainer of the star 'K9'. They have been working together for a year and have solved many cases together.
The Mongolian Police Dog Training Centre currently has over 60 dogs of different breeds, including German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, Golden Retrievers and Labradors. The future police dogs have come from the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany and the Russian Federation.
Ulaanbaatar, January 16 (MONTSAME) "The Government aims to create income accumulation by supporting national producers and it will not impose burden on businessmen with increased taxes", noted Prime Minister J.Erdenebat at a 'Business breakfast' on January 14. PM was the first guest of the 2017 meeting, organized by Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
"- We plan to diversify economy based on agriculture and increasing the production and types of domestic-made products. As our market, constituted of 3 million of population's consume, is small, national companies face barriers on marketing. In purchasing products abroad, businessmen also cannot succeed much because of outdated technology and unrecognized reasons. Therefore, latest well-known technologies should be introduced and the products should be promoted to the world market. Particularly, food industry has high possibilities" said PM.
The Chamber held a poll for two weeks through its Facebook page and businessmen made suggestions to PM regarding the improvement of government and private sector partnership, moving big projects forward, supporting industries, reducing intervention of government to businesses, improvement of investment and business environment, economic diversification, improvement of trade conditions with neighboring countries, tariff reduction and reducing corruption.
During the meeting, businessmen expressed their views on how government could support private sector, introducing some business inventions and innovations and presented their proposals and recommendations in written form.
The attendees underlined that government can overcome economic crisis by expanding the economy; not shrinking it and creating working places. Some businessmen requested the PM to consider postponing the loan repayment term of loan-ridden companies due to exchange rate jumps or freeing them from loan interest for certain period of time, transfer some duties of government to NGOs and make tax environment favorable to businessmen.
At the end of the meeting, the PM vowed that the Government will support the green industry.
"- Future model of business is green production. The Government will promote green industry, establishing centers where massive gathering can happen. We have exchanged views with commercial banks on financing green production and I am happy to declare that Xac Bank became the first bank to issue low interest loan to green production".
Mogi: now this has taken way too long. The law was passed, what, 4 years ago?
Ulaanbaatar, January 16 (MONTSAME) On January 16, the State Registration and Intellectual Property Office of Mongolia established a memorandum of cooperation with the National Data Center on introducing online services in the activities of both organizations.
In the scope of the memorandum, the sides will collaborate in directions of improving the confidentiality of information, intensifying e-machine services apart from facilitating the activities of receiving information online from registration and archival database of isolated soums and khoroos (second-level local and capital city's administrative divisions) of Mongolia.
R.Sodkhuu, head of the State Registration and Intellectual Property Office said that "the State Registration and Intellectual Property Office will cooperate with the National Data Center in order to enable easier access to state registration database and make them open to the public. This memorandum is also focusing on creating digital signature".
"If we introduce the digital signature, people will have a possibility to receive state registration services by just showing their identity cards to registration officials. All Mongolians will have their own digital signature by 2018" he added.
January 17 (UB Post) The newly built solar power station in Darkhan-Uul Province will officially commence operations on January 19.
The 10MW power station has been conducting trial runs and providing electricity to the province's main power grid. The official opening ceremony of the station will be held in Khongor Soum in Darkhan-Uul Province.
Officials have noted that the commencement of the plant's operations will help lower energy imports required from Russia and mark the beginning of the development of renewable energy in the region.
The domestic company Solar Power International built the station in cooperation with Japan's Sharp Corporation and Shigemitsu Shoji Co. Ltd.
According to a statement from Sharp Corporation, "By introducing Sharp's technology and experience in solar power generation, clean energy can be supplied and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions can be contributed to Mongolia, where coal-fired power plants are still heavily relied upon as their main energy source. In addition, the project will contribute to Japan's greenhouse gas emissions reduction target through a joint crediting mechanism. The installed capacity of PV modules for this solar power plant will be 10MW, and the annual expected power generation is 14,182MWh/year, which is expected to contribute to the reduction of approximately 14,746 TCO2 per year of greenhouse gas emissions."
CEO of Solar Power International B.Mandalbayar said that the new solar power station could potentially provide clean energy to 20,000 households. Officials also noted that the station was built to withstand temperatures of up to -40 degrees Celsius.
January 17 (UB Post) Mongolian Railways will establish a transport and logistical center at the Dongjiang Free Trade Port Zone in Tianjin, China.
State-owned Mongolian Railways has announced they will work with Chinese authorities to establish the center on an area of 10 hectares.
The move to establish the center is reported to be a part of the government's 2013 "Increasing Channels to the Sea" decree. Mongolian Railways has begun the search for domestic companies seeking to expand their operations through an office located in the center.
Domestic companies must fulfill three requirements to become a tenant: the company must not have any outstanding tax debt, it must be financially secure, and be able to carry out long-term, sustainable cooperation with Mongolian Railways.
January 17 (gogo.mn) Mongolia is moving forward with plans to establish casino resorts in an attempt to tap into Asia's lucrative gambling business and boost its tax revenue.
The Judicial Standing Committee decided to establish a working group to draft legislation for the development of casino resorts. An earlier casino bill was submitted in 2012 and received much support in the State Great Khural, but it was not passed.
The new legislation proposes a model currently used in Vietnam, South Korea and Cambodia, where only foreign nationals are permitted to gamble in specially created resorts, often near the border or international airports. Under the new bill, Mongolia will establish two casino resorts.
Ulaanbaatar, January 13 (MONTSAME) Gambling is prohibited in Mongolia and the Police reported that three gambling houses have been revealed recently.
For instance, a citizen aged 42 had a gambling house with 13 gaming machines and a computer processor, and gained money were seized for evidence.
Prior to it, 19 gambling houses had been exposed and shut down by police.
Ulaanbaatar, January 16 (MONTSAME) According to the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry, about 60 new milk processing plants are expected to be launched in 2018.
"MDM" Company will be in responsible for introducing modern milk processing technology from Japan to Mongolia with support from the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry.
The milk processing factories to produce liquid milk from raw milk will be built in regions with the greatest milk output per animal. P.Sergelen, Minister of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry said "If we can produce milk with a high content of fat using modern advanced technology, the milk imports are believed to be lowered".
January 16 (MONTSAME) Even though it has been only 5 years since the MR leather bags brand of the Mongolian "SRB" was founded, its products have been already popular among the consumers from Mongolia, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.
The brand produces more than 70 types of leather bags, including men's, women's and kids leather bags with different styles as well as 30 types of accessories, such as purses and keychains.
The uniqueness of the brand lies in the raw materials it uses in its products – hides of cattle and yak and the way they are processed turn them into high quality leathers. The outstanding technology the company uses to process the raw materials is what makes its brand products a perfect quality.
The excellency of their products can be shown from the fact that Japanese people buy leather to use for book cover only from Mongolia because of its great quality.
"Mongolian Economy" November2016 №19 (121)
January 16 (Mongolian Economy) Mongolian Economy magazine sat down with David Holliday, CEO of MobiCom Corporation, on the occasion of its 20th anniversary.
-First of all, congratulations to you and everyone at MobiCom on your 20th anniversary. How would you evaluate MobiCom's contribution to Mongolia's economy in the last two decades?
-Thank you, and my greetings to all your subscribers and readers on behalf of everyone at MobiCom. Yes, it has been a tremendously exciting and challenging 20 years. As pioneer of the mobile communication sector, we can see now that MobiCom and the introduction of mobile communications accelerated the economic growth of Mongolia, and helped businesses to grow their operations. Most importantly, we connected everyone in this country regardless of time and distance, revolutionising not just the telecommunications industry in Mongolia, but also this usher-in a positive change in society too. People no longer needed to queue at post offices for hours to make calls to their families and friends, and if someone was ill or needed a doctor, a call could now be made, bringing help closer, and with the advent of 3G mobile data, even greater change was possible. In other words, social relations will be closer thanks to our 3G and 4G network as well as other advanced technologies.
According to the ITU's (International Telecommunication Union) survey, the GDP of a country increases by 1.4 percent when the number of internet subscribers increases by 10 percent. This represents quite tangibly how communication technology affects economic growth of any country. Our investment over the years to bring about this change to citizens has been quite significant too. To give some examples, since MobiCom's establishment, we have contributed over MNT 600 billion to the Mongolian treasury through corporate tax, and the tax paid by the thousands of employees and MobiCom's 8,000 nationwide dealers over the years is no doubt many billions more.
On infrastructure investment, we have spent well over MNT 1.25 trillion on direct investment in the country's infrastructural development. We have created more than 10 thousand new jobs over the course of the years and helped thousands of Mongolian companies both large and small by spending countless billions more, giving them an opportunity to grow with us both in terms of income and in skills development. The Mongolian ICT industry of which MobiCom is a proud founding member, saves everyone's time, money and creates more opportunity, which are the most important resources for every business. In England, we have a saying: a rising tide lifts all ships!
Industries like digital content, apps and entertainment have been growing at an unbelievable pace in last 4-5 years thanks to the advancement of communication technology, and this global trend is also can be seen in Mongolia.
-Mobile communications is one of the fastest growing industries in Mongolia. In your opinion, what was the main catalyst of this technological development in Mongolia's comparatively small market?
-You are right. Probably the only sector in Mongolia that is growing in tandem with global trends is mobile communication. 4G, for example, is now established in Mongolia, even ahead of many other countries in the world. So, not only are we keeping up, but unlike some countries who have journeyed through and are hindered by so-called "legacy systems," I believe Mongolia has actually jumped ahead of many countries because it was a late-entrant to this (and other) new technology over 20 years ago.
Initially our focus was just to connect customers within Ulaanbaatar by voice and then SMS. As the years progressed, so did MobiCom, and now MobiCom's customers have complete access nationwide. They can access over 500 networks in other countries across the world and roam freely on voice and data when they travel. ICT development created more possibilities, which is just as well, as people's need for data services, value-added services, and access to social networks increased tremendously. For businesses, we were able to add value to them by providing total ICT solutions from fixed phones to smart office solutions to VSAT Satellite connections, and Domestic and International Virtual Private Networks. It is an industry of unlimited opportunities and potential.
-Mongolia's mobile industry showed that healthy business competition actually promotes the development of the industry. What is the secret to maintaining a majority market share in this competitive environment?
-The key ingredient can be summed up in one word: service. MobiCom provides daily telecommunications services to nearly half the entire population of the country, and it is a responsibility which MobiCom takes very seriously indeed. Every customer matters to MobiCom, and each month we serve 1.3 million of our valued customers who call our Customer Care Centre 2222 helpline, seeking to have their enquiries or questions answered. Tens of thousands more are assisted each day by our MobiCom shops across Mongolia.
Have we reached "service perfection" yet? No, for example we still from time to time, have service outages in some soums caused mainly by contractors being careless and cutting through underground fibre-optic cables. Last year, we won a landmark court case against one company for over MNT 40 million as a penalty.
Now other operators in Mongolia will take similar actions, and so we as an industry will gradually change the behaviour of builders and contractors and force them to be more professional. Damage to what now has become, a network of essential national importance which people and businesses rely upon in their daily lives can no longer be tolerated. I think customers appreciate our position on this and other matters, and appreciate our business culture, integrity and total commitment tothe customers' needs, information security, the way we run our business and how we play our role in the community generally.
As one of Mongolia's leading companies, MobiCom feels it is mandatory behaviour to be a role model in terms of commitment to the laws and regulations of the country. In fact, we always try to over fulfil requirements of us, whether these are regulatory, tax, transparency, ethics or investment in Mongolia – these are duties we take seriously.
We also take our contribution to the community seriously and have one of the strongest CSR programmes in Mongolia, which we hope will inspire other business entities. MobiCom is focused on children, and we have installed one washroom and bathroom facility with hot water, flushing toilets, lighting and heating in one school every month, now ensuring that at least 16,000 children each day will not get sick through unsanitary conditions. MobiCom is also proud of its contribution to the 108 Child Helpline. This service, now a government funded multi-agency effort, has taken over 300,000 calls in the last 24 months alone and has helped children in trouble – over 4,000 of these calls unfortunately needed intervention from the social services and police. These may not be connected to your question directly but for MobiCom, "service" also means we have a duty to service our community in many different ways – and sometimes this has nothing to do with telecom.
-What about security? As peoples devices become more sophisticated and hold more information, what about the dangers of hacking or data corruption which we hear so much about?
-When it comes to data security, customers know that MobiCom's commitment to their data security and privacy is second to none. Over the years, we have established strong corporate governance to safeguard data, and invested in the latest international security tools. I cannot go into the details in this interview of course for obvious reasons, but it is important that I can assure any customer of MobiCom that we comply with and have been internationally certified by the world's top institutions. For instance, we are certified by ISO 9001, the international quality management system, and ISO 27001, the international information security management system. MobiCom is the only operator which holds these global standards in Mongolia.
-Mobile communication requires a tremendous amount of investment in terms of building infrastructure and bringing new technologies. When did you spend the most on investment in the company's 20-year history? What is your strategy during this time of economic difficulties?
- Infrastructure is literally the backbone of communication technology. Each year, we install hundreds of new base stations for serving new areas, plus we have to connect these all back to Ulaanbaatar. Each year we upgrade our existing base stations to provide greater and greater capacity. With the introduction of 2G, 3G and 4G networks as well as customers' demands for data, this means more investment, and 4G is something that only one other company has so far been able to implement commercially.
We have nearly 7500 km of fibre-optic cable and over 3000 km of microwave backbone transmission. All of this requires greater and greater IT and systems capability, and that is where the largest components of MobiCom's spending is. This is also what all telecom companies mainly spend on. We have recently created an internet transit route connecting Europe and Asia through Mongolia, laying fibre-optic cable from Russia to China and installing the very latest equipment. MobiCom's spending on infrastructure investment never stops; in the last 24 months, we have built more base stations than in the previous ten years combined.
We are confident in our network, and proud that MobiCom's LTE network passed rigorous requirements by Apple and became the only Apple certified LTE network in Mongolia, which means MobiCom customers can use all the functionality of the iPhone and other smart devices on our 4G LTE network.
Although 4G LTE is an important part of our network, we must not forget 2G and 3G networks, which are being used by over 90% of Mongolia's total subscribers. We don't forget this, and in addition to our 4G base stations, we have installed 135 2G and 3G base stations across Mongolia in the last 8 months alone, in order to improve network quality of regional customers.
Unfortunately, the economic downturn has hit everybody in Mongolia hard, and while the economy will recover, it seems it will be a while, probably not until the end of next year. As is the same with all other companies, in times like these operational efficiency and reducing costs to the minimum are sensible measures to take, which MobiCom has done and continues to do. We at MobiCom try to recognise that our customers need attention too, so we substantially changed our systems to facilitate earlier this year for our customers, a new post-paid package called "My Mobi," which allows our customers to choose whatever they want to use, for how much and the way they want to use. It gives more opportunities to our customers rather than making choices among a few set packages offered by operators. We listened to our customers and they told us one of their requests for MobiCom was to remove validity days – so we did. This will give more flexibility to customers and focus on their usage only. In 2015, we have also introduced a Hybrid package to allow customers to enjoy post-paid services while taking total control of their usage. These are the innovative offers from MobiCom, introduced in the Mongolian mobile industry for the first time, to deliver more efficient ways for customers to use our services.
-Your competitors are also introducing new technologies quiet quickly. What are MobiCom's plans to maintain its position as the market leader?
Like I said earlier, "a rising tide lifts all ships." This means that as well as being a pioneer in the mobile telecoms business, MobiCom has also set the standards by which service is judged, and as a consequence, we have been copied, which is good in one sense, as it has led to competition, but in another sense, it's not so good if our competitors simply copy all the time, as this means that inventiveness is stifled. This leads to less competition, which in turn leads to less consumer choice. Introduction of new technology to the market like 4G stimulates competition among operators to a certain degree, but this is a delivery mechanism; what marks out true pioneers is what they do with this delivery mechanism. I can't give away MobiCom's plans, but this is where we will concentrate our efforts, so watch this space!
- Globally, the mobile communication industry is growing rapidly. For instance, the Japanese AU Research institute claims that by 2020, smart phones will become almost as smart as human beings. What are the challenges that Mongolia might face in terms of keeping up with global levels?
- Everyone in Mongolia deserves to get the latest services, and use the latest technologies. MobiCom will strive to bring state-of-the-art advanced technologies to Mongolian customers. The only challenge for other companies will be the investment needed, but for MobiCom, it has the capacity fortunately, and will seek to keep Mongolian citizens on par with the rest of the region, and if at all possible, we would like to see it ahead of other countries in some areas.
- To conclude, is there anything you would like to say to the industry and customers on the occasion of your 20th anniversary?
- It has been an exciting journey for MobiCom establishing mobile communications in Mongolia, and through the achievements and experience gained in the last 20 years, no one else is better placed to continue to provide the investment and innovation needed for the next 20 years to bring total connectivity to customers across Mongolia – wherever, whenever and however they want. For businesses, we will be concentrating on providing solutions which add value, underpinned by the fastest and most reliable service in the country.
For all stakeholders, whether government, consumer customers, businesses and to all other ICT companies, we look forward to working together to face the challenges of the coming 20 years. And from all of us at MobiCom, you can rely upon us, to be with you in this journey, serving you with the highest standards possible – thank you!
Ulaanbaatar, January 17 (MONTSAME) Mongolian business and private sector representatives and corresponding government officials were invited to a seminar co-organized by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry today, January 17.
The seminar is designated to introduce the outcome of a study themed 'Investment Environment of Mongolia, its improvement' conducted by JICA.
Launched in December, 2015, the one-year study aimed to provide a report on the investment climate of Mongolia to Japanese companies, help them expand their business in Mongolia, and make recommendations to the planning of JICA's private sector development programs. The study is also expected to contribute to the development of Mongolian businesses.
The study has been completed, but the conclusion will be made with participation of Mongolian government organizations and private sector representatives. Therefore, the seminar was a platform for Mongolian businesses to express and reflect their views in the final report of the study.
"Since 1990 when Mongolian transitioned to market economy, JICA has been implementing number of projects and programs in various sectors such as education, health, governance, agricultural development, private sector development and transportation", said Sato Mutsumi, Chief Representative of JICA Mongolia Office in his opening speech.
"Number of Japanese companies interested in doing business in Mongolia come to us; but due to lack of sufficient knowledge on investment climate of Mongolia, we observe hesitation and caution. And this study will solve the problem", he said.
Mongolia and Japan signed an Economic Partnership Agreement in June 2016.
Ulaanbaatar, January 17 (MONTSAME) German Federal Institute of Physics and Technology and Agency for Standardization and Metrology of Mongolia set to jointly implement a project 'Developing quality infrastructure in energy sector' project in 2017-2019.
The first meeting of the administrative council of the project to discuss plans for three years is being held on January 16-20.
The project aims to improve energy saving through developing quality management infrastructure or metrology laboratory operations, meeting international standard and introducing internationally accepted common principle, standard and measurement system of European Union in energy production.
"Giving support in improvement of quality management infrastructure in energy sector" project financed by the grant aid of Government of Federal Republic of Germany, was implemented in 2013-2015 and the Government of Germany accepted the request of Mongolian part to continue the project.
January 16 (gogo.mn) Froit Vander Harst has been living in Mongolia for 10 years. In 2006, he came to live in the Ulaanbaatar city and bought the house near Gandan monastery. Before he came here, he was living in a ger from 1997 in Holland.
Now he produces ger and sells it to the Europe that suits perfectly for the lifestyle of European customers.
-Why do you like living in a ger?
-Because it is nice to live in a ger, also in Holland. I lived in a ger for ten years. I was a first one, who lives in a ger in Holland. Because of socialism there were not many gers in the Western Europe.
Mongolian ger is difficult in the climate in Holland. Many people try to do it but after two or three years they give up. They could not fix Mongolian ger to make it waterproof. I have changed everything because we made our first ger in Holland, from Holland materials. People then start to learn the difference. I started in 1997 and everybody came to visit us.
First ten years was really nice in a ger. We develop completely new ger that looks same like a ger but it was made for European climate and made for European customer. Because people living in Europe have different lifestyle, they have different way of sleeping and different way of cooking, different way of work. It is totally different from Mongolia. So they use the ger, but they use it very different way.
This we did in the first ten years. Then we tried to move this production to Mongolia. Now we are making gers here.
-How do you find your customers?
-We only export to abroad and we do not sell in Mongolia. Because we make them very waterproof, they are super expensive compared to Mongolian gers. There is no reason to buy our ger in Mongolia even with very good Mongolian ger is cheaper than ours.
Mongolia have many tourism companies and tourists see the ger and they want to take back home.
First we tried to find a producer in Mongolia who wants to make what we want. It was not really success. Then in 2006 we decided to start our own factory here. We sell our gers to Europe, North America and other places.
Half of our customers are people who really live in the ger. But they are not herders and they do not live in the city. They live in the countryside in Holland, Germany, France, USA, Australia. They live ecological lifestyle. They do not care if the ger is from Mongolia or from South Africa. They want to live this lifestyle. That is about half of our customer.
Then 25 percent of our customers operate camps in Europe, which is kind of new fashion thing.
The last 25 percent of our customer are people who use the ger next to their house. They use the ger for extra room or for yoga classes. Because they like round and ground on the earth. They want to do yoga classes in nature.
-How about the price?
-We are selling a ger with five wall, ready for shipping at MNT 8-9 million. Mongolian ger costs about MNT 1.6 – 2 million. We are four times more expensive before shipping.
For the customers in Europe, the difference is much of course you can buy a 'normal' Mongolian ger in Europe also. But the price difference is only 50 percent. Here we are like 80 percent more. Because transport and marketing are same. Those costs make our ger not so much more expensive than Mongolian ger after all transport is paid.
But if you look at the price of the ger and you compare it to monthly wages of the people, Mongolian family spends anything between 6 months to one year to buy a ger. Their wages are MNT 200-400 hundred. They buy ger and ger costs something like four five months or more. But if you buy the same ger in Europe at 8000 thousand Euro that is actually only three months wages for those people. Actually gers in Europe and North America are still relatively cheaper than they are in Mongolia, which is interesting.
-What makes your gers more expensive than typical Mongolian ger?
-First we make Mongolian ger waterproof. There are two different things in waterproof. Waterproof means rain does not come in and there is moisture proof. There is always water in the air in Europe. There are 200 days of rain in year. The moisture always stays there. Even if it does not rain, the day after there is still everything is wet. This water works on the ger from inside and from the outside. Rain only comes from outside but other water comes from inside. This is a problem that there is always there 365 days per year. The ger is made of natural materials. If you put natural materials in the outside, they will become compost after two or three years
How do you fight this water all the time and still live in natural material is very hard. We slowly developed solutions for all this problems from 1996 to 2002. Since 2002, we have not changed much anymore.
-What have you changed?
-We stopped use pine. Mongolian ger is made of pine and larch combination. Larch for walls and rafters, pine for door and crown. But after two or three years, pine does not work in European climate. Larch works and it takes 15 – 20 years. So we changed door and roof (toono) with larch. That is very big change.
I asked Mongolian company to make toono/crown and door with larch and they do not want to do it. Their machines could not do it. That is why we make it ourselves.
The next step is change all the Mongolian horse hair and camel skin, it gets soft in Europe. Rope on the outside, it must be acceptable for five to ten years, so we use marine-grade webbing. Tsagaan burees/the outer cover is made with very cheap polyester in Mongolia. Of course people in Europe wants tsagaan burees that works for 10 years. Because there is no market, it is not easy to buy new one every three years. The difference in Mongolia is we have Narantuul and we have big national production of gers. But in Europe there is no Narantuul. Everything has to come from Mongolia or be made in Europe, which is very expensive. European customers prefer to spend more money in the front so they do not have to spend money after.
My tsagaan burees is made from German material which take 9 or 10 years. Under the outer cover is the waterproofing, berzent. We import berzent from Scotland. We import material for Tsavag/ceiling and hushig/wall curtains from Turkmenistan. We buy esgii/felts from Erdenet carpet fabric as they have the only esgii/felt that have no smell.
-How many gers you produce per year?
-Now it is a big thing that there are 1000 gers in Europe. Not mine, mine is only about 200. I am not interested in make too many gers. I prefer to make good gers not so many.
Also, it is really difficult to find perfect larch. I am happy that we make 20-30 gers per year, not more. Look at Mongolia, we do not have so much wood and we should be careful.
-What was the biggest problem you encountered starting your production in Mongolia?
-Mongolia does not have basic industries. If you want to start a factory in Mongolia, you have to plan long time, you have to go to China for machines and you have to go to Korea to find a glue and you have to go to Russia to find a cable. All this small things needed at the workshop is much more difficult to be found in Mongolia.
I Holland we chose 200 different shops for everything, also very specialized shops. There is no quick way to fix it. The only way is to wait until there are more industries, which will need more secondary supplies. It is a slow development.
For more info on the ger production, please visit at www.euro-yurts.com
January 16 (gogo.mn) Are you planning to set up your company in Mongolia? According to the 2017 Doing Business Report by World Bank-International Finance Corp, Mongolia ranked 64th in the report.
We at GoGo Mongolia points out the five steps to help you to establish your company in Mongolia.
1. Verify and reserve a unique company name
First, you should determine the types of the enterprise whether it is LLC, JSC or a representative office of a foreign legal entity. Foreign investor is eligible to set up an enterprise of this type only. A representative office shall not be deemed a legal entity. It is prohibited for a representative office to carry out any commercial activities for the profit earning purpose within the territory of Mongolia.
Then, the business owners must propose and reserve the name of the company with the Legal Entities Registration Office of the General Authority for State Registration of Mongolia (LERO). Upon approving the proposed name of the company, LERO will issue a name reservation slip (in writing or electronically) and a "bank account permission slip". The entrepreneur opens a temporary account at the bank within the same office and, at the same time, can instruct the bank to make a payment to the account of the Tax Authority.
Although the company name may be reserved online, the name reservation slip is one of the documents that needs to be supplied in original for the incorporation purposes. As such, ultimately a visit to LERO in person is required.
Granting a name permission
The name of a company with foreign investment cannot clash with the names registered in Mongolia, so that it will not cause any confusion. Prior to company incorporation, an entity shall obtain the verification certificate from General Authority of State Registration, where the name shall be printed in Cyrillic.
Documents required for obtaining name verification certificate:
1. Original copy of ID of an incorporator
2. If foreigner, original copy of the passport
3. Obtainable via Power of Attorney /accreditation is applicable by original copy of an ID or passport/
4. Document processing fee 500 MNT needs to be remitted to GolomtBank-1401001101
Time to complete: 1 day
Associated costs: 500 MNT
2. Verify and reserve a unique company name
Upon obtaining the name verification certificate, the company needs to have a bank account in order to register. Please note that bank might request additional documents.
To establish a representative office, a foreign legal entity obtain certificate of establishment from General Authority of State Registration and grant permission for account opening from City Tax Office.
Following is the list of banks currently operating in Mongolia:
Golomt Bank – www.golomtbank.com
- Capital Bank – www.capitalbank.mn
- Capitron Bank – www.capitronbank.mn
- Credit Bank – www.creditbank.mn
- State Bank – www.statebank.mn
- Transport and Development Bank– www.transbank.mn
- Ulaanbaatar City Bank – www.ubcbank.mn
- National Investment Bank – www.nibank.mn
- Development Bank of Mongolia – www.dbm.mn
- Khan Bank – www.khanbank.com
- Khas Bank – www.xacbank.mn
- Trade, Development Bank – www.tdbm.mn
- Chinggis Khaan Bank – www.ckbank.mn
Arig Bank – www.arigbank.mn
Time to complete: 1 day
Associated costs: Depends on the bank
3. Register the company incorporation and register as tax payer
The following documents should be submitted at LERO in order to register incorporation and obtain a state registration certificate:
1. Completed proforma application form;
2. Bank account approval letter, and evidence of dormant account with some funds deposited;
3. Company charter;
4. Lease agreement with the company's official address;
5. Founding or shareholders' resolution;
6. Payment slip of the registration fee;
7. Name reservation slip;
8. Opening balance sheet; and
9. Copies of the shareholders' passports (IDs).
* For business activities that require licenses, these must be obtained first from the relevant authorities.
On 29 January 2015, the Mongolian Parliament adopted the Revised Law on the State Registration of Legal Entities which entered into force on 1 March 2015. The relevant ancillary regulations were adopted on 27 February 2015 by the Ministry of Justice and the General Authority for State Registration of Mongolia. According to the new regulations, the Legal Entities Registration Office must process company registration within 5 business days. The same regulation also introduced online registration, which is yet to be put into practice.
Upon registration of the company, the Registry automatically publishes a notice of company formation. The Registry also automatically pass the relevant documents to the tax department for the area in which the company is located. Thereafter, the company will be registered as a corporate income tax payer and VAT payer, if applicable.
Under the Law of Mongolia on Value Added Tax dated 29 June 2006, a taxpayer should submit its request for registration as a VAT payer within 3 days of its sales income reaching MNT 10,000,000 (approximately US$ 5010), which is to be evidenced by certified corporate income tax and financial reports.
Time to complete: 1 day
Associated costs: 44,000 MNT
4. Apply for Social Security Code
Foreign entity shall register in local Social Insurance office according to incorporated company`s address in order to obtain social insurance certificate. An entity is required to bring original copy and the copy of certificate of incorporation obtained from General Authority of State Registration.
Register in Tax Office
Information on company incorporation is sent to local tax office automatically and an entity shall bring original copy and the copy of certificate of incorporation to local tax office within 14 days after obtaining the certificate of incorporation to get registered.
A representative office of foreign legal entity shall get registered in the City Tax Office.
Time to complete: 1 day
Associated costs: No charge
5. Obtain the company seal
The company must first obtain a seal request form LERO. Then, the company must provide one of twelve seal makers in Ulaanbaatar who are currently registered with Ministry of Justice with a copy of its state registration certificate.
Foreign invested company:
- Original copy of certificate of incorporation
- Representative office incorporation certificate
- Official request letter
Seal manufacturing companies
Chingeltei District, Ankara Street-23, Tod Tower, 1s floor
Chingeltei duureg, 4th horoo, Tsetsee gun university, 3rd floor #307
Sukhbaatar district, Baga toiruu #48-1
"Khas Tamga" Ltd
Chingeltei duureg, 3-r horoo, Urt tsagaan east wing #208, 301
"Khash Tamga" Ltd
Sukhbaatar district, 6-r horoo, Focus centre #102
Time to complete: 1 day
Associated costs: 59,800 MNT
Source: Invest Agency Mongolia and www.doingbusiness.org
Mogi: stupid and populist, stupopulist
January 17 (gogo.mn) Alcoholic products won`t be sold or served in Ulaanbaatar city from 6pm today until Jan 20th.
On Jan 16, five people died of poisoning after drinking undefined liquid which might be alcoholic product. The undefined liquid is now being examined while the ban on selling and serving of alcoholic products will be effective until the final examination result.
Police Department warns citizens and entities to be responsible for the decision.
January 13 (gogo.mn) This summer Ulaanbaatar Electricity Distribution Network Company (UBEDN) to change the schedule of hot water outage in Ulaanbaatar city.
Residents living in apartments are to use heating meter. Therefore, users are enabled to pay heating costs that they used. Previously, heating costs are determined by total square meter of the apartment.
In order to implement the work, hot water in the prefabricated apartments will be cut off after Naadam festival to Aug 25th, 2017. However, the hot water cuts will be continued for four days.
January 13 (gogo.mn) Each ger district household affect air pollution of Ulaanbaatar city, burning approximately 450 kg waste every winter.
There are 357 authorized landfill sites in rural areas. However, only 68 of the landfills bury waste under layers of soil.
As of 2015, total 2.3 million tons of waste were taken to 371 landfills.
50 percent of waste could be recycled. However, less than 1 percent of total waste are being reused, recycled and exported throughout Mongolia.
Thus, Ministry of Environment and Tourism is working to approve the amended law on waste by State Great Khural.
The amended law on waste will regulate not only regular waste but also radioactive and hazardous waste of the country, which is estimated to be around 29-58 thousand tons per year.
January 16 (news.mn) Under the theme 'Responsive and Responsible Leadership', the 2017 World Economic Forum is set to open tomorrow, 17th of January in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. About 3000 participants from over 100 countries are expected to gather at the annual event; from Mongolia two official delegates will be attending.
This year, President Ts.Elbegdorj, who has been constantly participating since 2010 is being accompanied by A.Undral, founder of Unread Media. A.Undral has been chosen to represent Global Shapers Community which selects about 50 young leaders to contribute to the agenda of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting.
The first Mongolian delegation to partake in the World Economic Forum was led by the then First Deputy Prime Minister, D.Ganbold in 1991. Subsequently, Mongolia participated in the forum at a 'head of government' level in 1997, 1998, and from 2001 to 2003 respectively. In 2009, Mongolia was represented by N.Enkhbayar, the then President of Mongolia for the first time. Since 2010, President Ts.Elbegdorj has been participating in the forum every year.
The forum was founded in 1971 by Klaus Schwab, a German-born business professor at the University of Geneva. First named the "European Management Forum", it changed its name to the World Economic Forum in 1987 and sought to broaden its vision to include providing a platform for resolving international conflicts.
Mongolia sends two delegates to Davos 2017 – Montsame, January 16
January 16 (The McGill International Review) On Friday, November 18, 2016 the 14th Dalai Lama arrived in Ulan Bator to begin a four-day pastoral visit in Mongolia, a Buddhist-majority country. During his visit, he spoke to followers at the Gandantegchinlen monastery on the topic of materialism. According to the Mongolian government, his visit and teachings contained no overtly political content, and was largely spiritual in nature. On the same day that the Dalai Lama arrived, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs put out a statement urging Mongolia to refuse the Lama's entrance in the interest of their "sound and steady" bilateral tie development. Similar to past instances, the Mongolian government ignored the Chinese protests and allowed the lama a visa.
The reaction from the Chinese government was more forceful than in the past years. During the 2002 visit, China briefly closed its borders to Mongolia and during the 2006 visit Beijing cancelled its flights to Ulambataar. This time, the stakes have changed and leverage firmly favors China. Beijing promptly cancelled the planned bi-annual, bilateral meeting between Mongolian and Chinese foreign ministers. They also cancelled a meeting which had the intended goal of resolving Mongolia's balance-of-payment dilemma through a 4.2 billion dollar loan. Additionally, they placed a tariff on goods exported from Mongolia to China at a border crossing with the most traffic. The border crossing in question, the Gashuun Sukhait pass, is the largest commercial point between China and Mongolia for Mongolia's export market of copper and coal—including coal coming from a large mine which the Chinese state-ownedShenhua Group has its eyes on for development. The new transit fee is 10 yuan per truck and an additional 8 yuan per tonne. Independent mining analyst Dale Choi estimates that 900 trucks and 133,000 tons pass through daily. The Chinese foreign minister Geng Shuang has denied any knowledge of whether the new tariffs and diplomatic blocks are in response to the Dalai Lama's visit. He stated that he was not aware of the tariff situation.
On December 21, the Mongolian Foreign Minister Munkh-Orgil Tsend told the Onoodor newspaper, "The government feels sorry for this.'' He went on to say that the Dalai Lama "probably won't be visiting Mongolia again during this administration.''
Many have taken the statement to be an indication of an irrevocable censure on the Dalai Lama. Bloomberg politics entitled their report, Mongolia Vows No More Dalai Lama Visits After China Turns Screws. At a news briefing on the same day China's foreign affairs spokesman Hua Chunying stated, "We hope that Mongolia will truly learn lessons from this incident, truly respect the core interests of China, honour its promise and make efforts to improve the relations between China and Mongolia."
However, the administration will be changing this summer after the July Mongolian Presidential elections. The current president, even if he weren't suffering in popularity, is no longer eligible, having already served his maximum second term in office. Despite the ambiguity of its duration and its fait accompli nature, the apology and censure is a dramatic change for Mongolia. Mongolia is 53% Buddhist, and it was the Mongolian Altan Khan who bestowed the title Dalai upon the visiting lama in 1577; Dalai is, in fact, a word from the Mongolian language meaning ocean.
The Economic Crisis
Mongolia is no longer as powerful as it once was; the age of the khans has disappeared into history, and even the success of 2012 is illusory. For Mongolia, the status-quo of this controversial conflict between religion and economy may be unsustainable in the face of pressure from Beijing, because its economy is in serious trouble and is dependent on China. In 2009, Mongolia resorted to the IMF for funds. The IMF agreed and supplied 242 million USD as a bailout. They toasted the deal with champagne, and indeed, the following several years seemed to prove their celebration to be well-founded; the government deficit and inflation rates went down, foreign debt arrears were paid, and there was a restoration of confidence in the Mongolian market which saw a 17.3% economic growth in 2012.
The good economic times did not last. By 2014, growth was down to 8% and then 2.3% in 2015. The Mongolian government invested massively in mining and other projects in the last couple of years. However, in the face of a world-wide decline in demand for copper (largely caused by China), Mongolia has yet to see a return on their expenditures which more than doubled their national debt this year to one billion. Attempts to help the matter by raising interest rates have done nothing but harm to the Mongolian economy. In August this year, Standard & Poor's Global downgraded Mongolia's long-term rating from B to B-.
Also important is that Mongolia's economic complexity ranking has undergone a gradual but drastic decrease. This reduces their ability to handle a downturn in a specific global market and limits the breadth of interested international trading partners. 43% of Mongolia's economy is copper, 29% is coal, and 27% is gold. China accounts for 80% to 90% of Mongolia's export economy over the past six years.
Mongolia is in economic pain. To make matters worse, their dependence on China is not reciprocated by the latter to the same degree. The economic slowdown in Mongolia has roots in the declining commodities market in China. Another factor is that Chinese domestic copper production and processing have increased in the last several years. Any pressure that China might exert on Mongolia and any broken ties or stalled trade routes might marginally hurt China's economy but it would destroy the financial sector in Mongolia. In this light, Mongolia's question of whether to choose to heal the crisis of faith or the economic crisis is easy to answer.
The Crisis of Faith
China has long been in dispute with the Dalai Lama, whom the Chinese government views as a separatist and an enemy to the PRC. Following a failed uprising in 1959, the Dalai lama fled Tibet and found refuge in India. The PRC government has not allowed the Dalai Lama to return to the country since that time.
This is not the first time that the Chinese government has used political and economic pressure to sway third parties in the ongoing debate. The host country for the 2014 Nobel summit moved from South Africa to Rome, after South Africa refused the Dalai Lama an entrance visa.
A secondary factor beyond the economic and political imbroglio is that while in Mongolia the Dalai Lama announced that he was convinced that the Jebtsundampa Khatagt (Reverend Noble Incarnate Lama) had been reborn. This is the traditional name attached to the patriarchs of Buddhism in Mongolia which traditionally follow the same Yellow Hat Buddhist practice as the Dalai Lama. In Mongolia this patriarch is seen as the third most senior lama following the Dalai and then Panchem Lama. The rebirth of the Jebtsundampa Khatagt would ensnare China, Mongolia, and India in a theocratic and political difficulty. Following an imperial decree in 1758 all patriarchs of this line had to be born in Tibet, overseen by the Chinese Qing court and finally approved by them before the Dalai and Panchem Lama could approve them.
Mongolian citizenship would combat both Chinese interference and Mongolia's internal, nationalist campaigns. The Dalai Lama has refused to publicly name the new Jebtsundampa Khatagt, as the young lama needs more years of training.
Factional politics within Mongolia, in which Buddhism and politics mix, could pit those with interests in Chinese trade against the new patriarch. A divide exists within the school separating the followers of the Shugden practice from rest of the Gelug school–this is the same school that the Dalai Lama follows. The Shugden followers revere Dorje Shugden, a mischievous and wrathful god who, its practitioners claim punishes the heterodox. The debate has evolved from its 17th century origins and is now largely a divide over the direction of Yellow Hat Buddhism– the Dalai lama believes in a school which is open to incorporation of other schools of thought while the Shugden minority advocate purging the heterodox aspects of the school. For years they have denied having connections to the Chinese Communist Party, but in December 2015 a Reuters investigation reported that there is a link; leaked CCP documents refer to the Shugden followers as "an important front in our struggle with the Dalai clique". The same Reuter's report quoted a former Shugden monk in India, Lama Tseta, who stated that he had received funding from the Chinese government to plan the activities of the sect abroad.
Some also speculate that as the Dalai Lama is quite old now, this process of announcing the rebirth of the Jebtsundampa Khatagt might prove to be a rehearsal of sorts for the future rebirth of the Dalai Lama himself.
In this encounter, Mongolia lost relatively little. Economically, trade became more difficult, talks and loans were stalled, and Mongolia lost face. They might possibly face less favourable deals from China when they finally sit down to discuss loans and trade with China and the IMF. However, the Dalai Lama had already completed his visit without incident and without interference. And the guarantee of no return extends only until the end of this terminal administration. However, considering the flight of investors from Mongolia in the last couple of years, Mongolia's abysmal growth rates, its ballooning debt, and its landlocked position between the failing Russian economy in the North and China in the South, Mongolia's options may be limited in the future.
For further and more full reading on Buddhist practice in Mongolia, the Jebtsundampa Khatagt, and Dorje Shugden I would suggest reading the following: The Dalai Lama in Mongolia: 'Tournament of Shadows' Reborn
January 12 (UB Post) The Speaker of Parliament, M.Enkhbold, received the ambassadors of Cuba and Kazakhstan to exchange views on ongoing and upcoming cooperation on projects in Mongolia.
During his meeting with Ambassador of Cuba to Mongolia Raul Delgado Concepcion, Speaker M.Enkhbold thanked the Government of Cuba for granting a number scholarships to Mongolian students.
The Speaker stated that he hopes direct cooperation between the National University of Mongolia and the University of Havana will have a great impact on developing educational cooperation between the two countries.
He said he was pleased that Cuban specialists in genetics, biotechnology, and veterinary medicine are coming to Mongolia to share their knowledge and experience with Mongolian researchers and students.
The Speaker asked Ambassador Concepcion to help support the training of Mongolian athletes who hope to participate in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Ambassador Concepcion said that he hopes proposals on cooperation between the two countries will be successfully implemented during his five-year mission in Mongolia, and highlighted that Cuba is focusing on matters discussed by the nation's leaders during President Ts.Elbegdorj's 2016 visit to Cuba.
He said he would concentrate on helping Mongolian boxers see great achievements in the 2020 Olympics. He added that he will work to develop tourism for both Cuba and Mongolia.
In his meeting with Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan to Mongolia Kalybek Koblandin, Speaker M.Enkhbold noted that October's Kazakhstan-Mongolia business forum held in Ulaanbaatar was of importance to developing economic cooperation between the two countries.
Ambassador Koblandin pointed out that the Kazakhstan-Mongolia business forum is expected to be organized annually, and the next forum is scheduled to take place in Kazakhstan. He noted that a regular meeting of the Mongolia-Kazakhstan Intergovernmental Commission is scheduled to be held in January.
The Ambassador asked the Speaker to focus on launching a direct flight between Ulaanbaatar and Astana, opening a Kazakhstani consulate in Bayan-Ulgii Province, resolving issues concerning the location for a new residence for the Kazakhstani Embassy in Ulaanbaatar, and Mongolia's participation in Astana EXPO-2017.
The Speaker of Parliament stated that if the two nation's state authorities negotiate on technical affairs for launching a direct flight, he will be ready to support the decision made, and emphasized that the foreign affairs ministries of the two countries will discuss the opening of a consulate.
He said that Mongolia may participate in Astana EXPO-2017 with the assistance of the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Speaker M.Enkhbold pointed out that he has spoken with ministers and state authorities about resolving issues concerning the location of a new embassy residence, and that the embassy will be eligible to begin construction at the location approved by state authorities.
Ambassador Koblandin stressed that Kazakhstan is ready to sign a cooperation document between Nur Otan, the ruling political party in Kazakhstan, and the Mongolian People's Party.
Ulaanbaatar, January 13 (MONTSAME) On January 12, D.Davaasuren, State Secretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs received Stefan Duppel, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Germany to Mongolia.
At the meeting, State Secretary, D.Davaasuren underlined that relations and cooperation between Mongolia and Germany are intensifying successfully and thanked the Ambassador for implementing projects with soft loans and grant aid of Germany in accordance with the Mongolia-Germany development cooperation agreement meeting in November 2016.
Ambassador Stefan Duppel handed over an invitation for Mongolia's Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Energy to attend an international conference on energy economics and energy policy, which will be held in March in Berlin, Germany.
The sides exchanged views on issues of bilateral relations in the areas of culture, education and multilateral cooperation.
January 16 (CurrenTriggers) Mongolia and China tussle after Dalai Lama's visit to the nation prompted the former to seek India more religiously as a defence partner.
A delegation of General Authority for Border Protection (GABP) of Mongolia a few days back met Kiren Rijiju, MOS (Home). The Indian Minister described the meeting with GABP delegation as 'extremely fruitful.'
GABP & Border Security Force (BSF) of India have signed an agreement for joint working on various fronts and the India-Mongolia friendship has been upgraded to a strategic level under PM Narendra Modi.
India and Mongolia have been steadily increasing their cooperation and in 2014 the two had agreed to increase cooperation in the realm of special operations, cyber security, bomb disposal, and tactics etc.
In 20014 itself, another of the GABP delegation had met Home Minister Rajnath Singh where the two nations had discussed a wide range of issues. However, it is disheartening that Mongolia reached out to India after falling out with China over the visit of Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama. The nation later said that it won't invite him after China took umbrage over it. Later, Tsend Munkh-Orgil, Mongolian Foreign Affairs Minister, even told the Onoodor newspaper that the government felt sorry after allowing the Dalai Lama to visit Mongolia in November.
Further, it was said that Dalai Lama may not visit the nation anytime soon during the current Mongolian government. In short, this nation surrendered without even a proper diplomatic fight. Why adopt this approach when Buddhism is the thread that has tied it with Dalia Lama? So deep are the ties that in Mongolian language Dalai means 'Ocean.'
China punches into Mongolia's integrity, while Mongolia cowers in fear
China is no friend; it is a Goliath which believes in attacking incessantly to make nations submit to its whims. Vietnam is the only nation in the South China Sea that has refused to budge against the Chinese hegemony, but Mongolia is dependent on the dragon. Much like Pakistan, to run its economy, Mongolia, too, depends on China. After Dalai Lama's visit to Mongolia, China reacted the way it was expected to; it slapped the tiny nation by punitively charging all the trucks crossing into the China's autonomous province of the Inner Mongolia. Further, it canceled all official interactions till the time it does not obey its whims.
It is then, that this nation sought India's help and the latter also stood by it, stating that it is 'ready to work with Mongolian people in this time of their difficulty'. India had promised a credit line of USD 1 billion financial assistance during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit and yet it took almost no time for Mongolia to surrender in front of China.
Dalai Lama and Tibet lost another nation to crass Chinese imperialism and now only India stands for the Tibetan leader. West, with all the noise, has actually done nothing for Tibetans while India gave refuge to Dalai Lama and the Tibetans for decades trashing Chinese imperialism all alone.
The November 18, 2016, visit of the supreme Tibetan Buddhist leader saw Mongolia crawl before China shunning its own ancient ties that date back to the 1500s.
With the Chinese threat in mind, India and Mongolia must work harder than ever to ensure that the hegemony of one nation does not lead to volatile situations in Asia. One can argue that India can stand up to China while Mongolia cannot, but then how does one explain the strong stand of Vietnam, again a small nation geographically but giving such a spirited response on the South China Sea?
Therefore, India must understand that while it must help the nations in need, yet, it must not go out of the way to help those who cannot stand on their own feet. It must seek partners like Vietnam.
Ulaanbaatar, January 13 (MONTSAME) Japanese anime drama film "The Garden of Words" directed by Makoto Shinkai is to be screened at the 10th Japanese Movie Days which will be organized by the Embassy of Japan to Mongolia together with the Japan Foundation in Ulaanbaatar starting from January 18, 2017.
This year's event aims to introduce Japanese cuisine through Japanese movies to Mongolian audience.
During the Japanese Movie Days, 6 Japanese films will be screened at Tengis movie theatre for the Mongolian audience.
The Garden of Words is a 2013 Japanese film written, directed and edited by Makoto Shinkai, animated by CoMix Wave Films and distributed by Toho. The film focuses on Takao Akizuki, an aspiring 15-year-old shoemaker, and Yukari Yukino, a mysterious 27-year-old woman he keeps meeting at Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden on rainy mornings.
The Garden of Words premiered at the Gold Coast Film Festival in Australia on April 28, 2013 and had its general release on May 31, 2013 in Japan. For the Japanese premiere, the film was screened with an animated short called Dareka no Manazashi also directed by Shinkai.
The film performed well in theaters for an extended period of time and was hosted at many local and international film events. It ranked highly on iTunes Store during 2013 and was selected as the Year's Best Animation in iTunes' Best of 2013. It won the 2013 Kobe Theatrical Film Award and awards at the Fantasia International Film Festival and the Stuttgart Festival of Animated Film.
YEREVAN, JANUARY 16, ARMENPRESS. There is a huge interest worldwide for economic cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), Member of the Board - Minister in charge ofIntegration and Macroeconomics of the Eurasian Economic Commission Tatyana Valovaya said in a press conference on January 16. She informed that talks are underway with Israel, India, Iran, Singapore and a number of other states.
"This is a very positive trend. A trade and economic agreement with China is being elaborated. There is a huge interest worldwide, but naturally, it's clear that the EAEU cannot hold talks with each of them simultaneously since it is not effective", Tatyana Valovaya said, adding that they have other cooperation formats, for example with Mongolia, Peru and Chile which are interested in economic dialogue with the EAEU.
According to her the fact that nearly 40 states show great interest towards the EAEU, wishing to sign a FTA with it, documents that the EAEU is considered a single economic player with rather promising market. "Everybody understands that by accessing to this organization they will derive great economic profits", Valovaya said.
Mogi: about time
January 16 (Taipei Times) The Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission is to be dissolved as part of a restructuring plan and its administrative businesses will not be transferred to the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), a draft bill submitted by the Executive Yuan said.
During former president Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) administration it was proposed that the commission be combined with the MAC, but the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government has disagreed.
A draft submitted to the Legislative Yuan made no mention of Mongolia or Tibet in outlining the administrative responsibilities of the MAC.
DPP Legislator Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋) said there is a consensus within the government regarding the dissolution of the commission, adding that the bodies different responsibilities would be divided among various departments.
Lee said the commission's cultural affairs should be handled by the Ministry of Culture, and exchanges with overseas Mongolians and Tibetans by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Overseas Community Affairs Council.
The dissolution of the commission was proposed by former president Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) administration, but it was never implemented, Lee said, adding that the Chen administration proposed establishing a cultural and tourism department that handled the commission's cultural exchanges, while the foreign ministry would be responsible for Tibetan affairs.
The Ma administration in 2012 proposed merging the commission and the MAC, with a separate office for Tibetan affairs and Mongolian affairs within the council. That proposal was never passed.
Lee said that part of the restructuring involves issues concerning Tibetan political refugees and the likely establishment of a refugee act that would include provisions for Tibetans, adding that further discussions are also needed to clarify who would act as the representative for Mongolians and Tibetans living in Taiwan.
A government official said the dissolution of the commission is an established goal, adding that the government must now figure out whether Tibetan and Mongolian affairs should be handled in conjunction with Chinese affairs or separately.
Each administration has a different way of thinking about the issue, the official said, adding that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has rejected the idea of tying the commission's responsibilities with those realted to China.
January 17 (news.mn) The Fourth Session of the Ministerial Council of the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA) was held on 13th January 2017 in Bangkok. The Mongolian delegation to the Ministerial Council session was headed by T.Tugsbilguun, Ambassador of Mongolia to the Kingdom of Thailand and Permanent Representative of Mongolia to UN ESCAP. In his address to the Ministerial Council, Ambassador T.Tugsbilguun reiterated the Mongolian Government's strong intention to join APTA and introduced the steps being taken in the country to accede to the Agreement.
The Ministerial Declaration adopted by the 4th session reiterated its support to Mongolia in becoming a new Participating State of the APTA and reaffirmed their commitment on a priority basis to expand the membership of the Agreement to evolve it into a truly pan-Asia Pacific Trade Agreement.
In addition, the heads of the delegations signed the Protocol to amend APTA: Second Amendment, which revised National Lists of concessions incorporating the Fourth Round concession list and Rules of origin. They also launched the web "APTA Tariff Concessions (MoPs), NTMs and RoO database".
Mongolian delegation attends Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement meeting – Montsame, January 17
January 14 (China Development Agenda) The 'Plan on establishing the China-Mongolia-Russia economic corridor' signed by China, Mongolia and Russia in June 2016 can be considered a follow-up to the memorandum of mutual understanding the three countries signed in July 2015. The aim of this plan is to build an economic corridor (jingji zoulang – 经济走廊) which will enhance the trade between these three countries, accelerate the economic development of the area involved and, at the same time, increase the competitive power on the international markets as allies. Mongolia only borders China and Russia and therefore has many contacts with these two countries. China is the main recipient of Mongolian export, amounting at 4.92 billion USD. Moreover, China is also the main exporter to Mongolia (1.65 billion USD). The relationship between Russia and Mongolia is also strong, Russia is the fourth destination of Mongolian exports (55.5 million USD) and the second import origin (1.46 billion USD).
How will the economic corridor work?
China, Mongolia and Russia will cooperate through the construction of better transportation routes expanding the current land, sea and air connections. However, this project is not limited to a transportation corridor. The three countries will also cooperate in other areas, such as cultural exchange, resources, agriculture, environmental protection, information flow, tourism, intellectual property and investments. The China-Mongolia-Russia economic corridor will be financially backed by national and private investments, as well as AIIB, BRIC Development Bank, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Bank and the Silk Road Fund.
This agreement comes short after China ratified the Convention on International Transport of Goods Under Cover of TIR Carnets which can be considered as the international standard for cross-border freight custom transit, which has been effective for China since the 5th of January 2017. The TIR convention could also mean support for the BRI project, as it facilitates good transportation to more than 70 countries, including Mongolia and Russia which are part if the convention as well. The convention makes possible to go through a single custom check within the countries which signed it, making custom clearance faster and easier.
How is BRI implied?
The China-Mongolia-Russia economic corridor has the ultimate goal of increasing the economic ties between the three countries, as well as the political relationships which could lead to future cooperation in infrastructure building. An aspect often left aside is how the China-Mongolia-Russia economic corridor will bring together the Belt and Road, the Russian roads and railways that connect Asia and Europe and Mongolia's Prairie Road Project. The Prairie Road Project has the goal of improving the connections within Mongolia and towards neighbouring countries. Connecting three colossal transportation infrastructures such as BRI, Prairie Road Project and Russian roads and railways will create an effective network for cross-border trade. In August 2016, China, Mongolia and Russia have sent out a ceremonial delegation of trucks to test the proposed economic corridor. The trucks started their journey in Tianjin (China) and made their way through Mongolia, only to end their journey in Ulan-Ude (Siberia, Russia). The trial run also included eleven stops in key cities along the corridor.
The effort China is making towards establishing economic corridors shows how the goal is not a network of transportation infrastructures, but a complete system that can balance out trade, transportation and synergy. The strategic location of the economic corridors, particularly the China-Mongolia-Russia economic corridor could lead to the establishment of free trade zones or special economic zones that will facilitate communication and trade between Europe and Asia.
January 13 (Mongolian Economy) Russian and Mongolian authorities, business circles, scientists and researchers all agree that current Mongolian-Russian economic relations are far below potential and that only a negligible part of the opportunities for cooperation in many sectors are being utilised.
After the collapse of socialism, the economy of Mongolia, which was dependent on loans and aid from the USSR and other socialist countries, lost its benefactor. The Soviet-Mongolian economic relationship, where one nurtured the other while the nurturee delivered raw materials to the nurturer, fell sharply, unable to stand the market test.
During that difficult time, only three joint Mongolian-Russian enterprises (Erdenet Mining Corporation, Ulaanbaatar Railway JSC and Mongolrostsvetmet LLC) resisted the waves of market reforms and remained as witnesses of the former historic cooperation between the two countries. If you look from today's perspective, these "three pillars" successfully stood the tough times of the 90s, and thus, saved not only themselves from collapse, but the whole economy of Mongolia. Undoubtedly, their contribution to the economy of the country is invaluable. As noted at the time by President Vladimir Putin, the three companies have become an example of a significant, successful experience of cooperation between the two countries in the mining and railroad industries.
The Russian side sold its shares in the two large mining companies to the Mongolian side in 2016, so now Ulaanbaatar Railway JSC remains as the only joint venture between the two countries. The two countries have much work to do in the railway sector in the future. In particular, there is a need to eliminate technical and technological lag and upgrade the railway to ensure the development of transit traffic between Asia and Europe in order to improve regional integration.
In addition to the Ulaanbaatar Declaration (2000), Moscow Declaration (2006) and the Declaration on Strategic Partnership Development (2009), there are about 130 intergovernmental and inter-agency treaties and agreements between Russia and Mongolia. The change in the visa scheme which was discussed for many years can be considered a decisive step taken in the field of economic cooperation in recent years. However, it made changes only to commerce near the border.
The times demand new forms of cooperation from us. Failing to exploit opportunities and options offered by the international market will be an unwise choice.
Today, Russia and Mongolia are at the threshold of a strategic economic partnership. In such a situation, economic cooperation between the two states has opportunities for development in several areas.
The Far East agenda
Russia is confidently pursuing a policy directed eastward given its current situation in international relations. Expanding economic relations with the countries of Asia and the Asia-Pacific region and ensuring the development of its Far East region are important for the state in terms of economy and security. In this regard, Asian countries are presented with an opportunity for profitable cooperation with Russia regardless of their size. China was the first one to recognise and take advantage of this opportunity. Hence, dozens of treaties and agreements concerning billions of dollars were signed between Russia and China.
Mongolia will only benefit from Russia's eastward pivot. The "Programme of Socio-economic Development of the Far East and the Baikal Region until 2025" was approved in 2013 by the Russian Government. Mongolia could develop multilateral cooperation with Russia in the framework of this programme which allocates USD 100-110 billion annually.
Russian researchers studying the Far East consider Mongolia an integral part of the "Eastern Policy" of Russia. Although this issue is currently being discussed on the level of researchers, sooner or later appropriate and strategic arrangements will be made.
What is stopping us?
Another promising field promising for future economic relations is the export of agricultural products. There is a historical fact that 60 percent of the Russian Army's food needs during WWI were supplied by the Mongolian livestock meat. It is also said that in the 80s, residents of Moscow ate Mongolian meat for a whole month. Therefore, the Russian people are quite familiar with the taste of Mongolian meat.
Russia meets its domestic demand for meat in large part with beef from the distant Latin America. Mongolia could become a supplier of environmentally friendly, low-cost meat to the huge market of Russia during this time when Western countries have slapped economic sanctions against Russia. Boosting the meat trade between the two countries would enable Russia to diversify its meat imports, and Mongolia's agricultural income would rise, which is something the herders would certainly be glad about. However, the biggest obstacle in supplying agricultural products from Mongolia to Russia has been and still is the issue of veterinary and sanitary requirements. This needs to be addressed jointly.
The new government of Mongolia reflected livestock improvement objectives in its platform, and concrete steps have been taken. In particular, the Minister of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry, P.Sergelen, agreed on cooperation in the implementation of the Mongolian "national livestock recovery programme" with Minister of Agriculture of the Russian Federation A.N. Tkachev during a meeting held in October of this year. The parties also agreed on the preparation of veterinary specialists of Mongolia with Russian assistance.
Another big task for the government of Mongolia is domestic production of vaccines for cattle. The Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry of Mongolia plans to start work on the reconstruction of the state-owned enterprise "Biokombinat" by accepting USD 25 million in financing from the government of Hungary in 2017. The ministry also submit a bill on animal and livestock health to parliament soon.
In the absence of an established mechanism for the implementation of decisions made at the state level in terms of economic relations between the two countries, many treaties and agreements remain unfulfilled. Since trade relations cannot be expanded only by the predominance of imports of petroleum products and food, we need to seek new opportunities and fields for cooperation.
The revitalisation of intergovernmental commissions that play a major role in the organisation of economic relations between Russia and Mongolia and the implementation of bilateral treaties and agreements are top priority.
Ulaanbaatar, January 16 (MONTSAME) On January 12, Ambassador Jennifer Zimdahl Galt had a reception in her residence in honor of Leaders Advancing Democracy (LEAD)-Mongolia participants.
The event served as a formal send-off of the 30 LEAD-Mongolia participants to the U.S.-bound exchange program, which is taking place from January 13 until February 4, 2017. It also provided an opportunity to meet the LEAD-Mongolia participants, wish them success during the U.S.-bound exchange, and hear their expectations and hopes for the program.
The U.S. exchange program will allow the participants to build a theoretical knowledge base and examine the practical application of various tools used in the United States to advance public policy agendas. The program will include academic sessions and site visits in Washington, as well as an intensive academic training program at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville.
Ambassador Jennifer Zimdahl Galt kicked off the event with welcome remarks that were followed by brief overview of the LEAD-Mongolia Project by World Learning Project Director, Adam LeClaire, and impressions of the program and views of its significance by LEAD-Mongolia participants, Battulga Chambuu and Gerelee Odonchimed respectively.
Ulaanbaatar, January 17 (MONTSAME) Within the framework of the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and USA, an academic conference of young scholars themed "United States Policy towards Northeast Asia and Mongolia-US relations" will be organized at the General Election Commission of Mongolia on January 18.
The organizers of the event are the Mongolian American Community, the Institute of International Studies at the Mongolian Academy of Sciences and Center for Policy Research in Ulaanbaatar.
The conference will bring together more than 100 representatives and young scholars from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia, the School of International Relations and Public Administration at the National University of Mongolia (NUM), the Institute of International studies at the Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Department of British and American studies at NUM, United States Peace Corps, University of the Humanities and Scientific Institute of Defense.
The participants will give reports on the current situation of Mongolia-US relations and regional policy of the US and discuss a broad range of issues related to the Mongolia-US bilateral relations in political, trade-economic, educational and cultural spheres.
January 17 (EJ Insight) Two Mongolian nationals, aged between 34 and 41, were arrested on Sunday after they were caught red-handed during an apparent shoplifting spree in Tsim Sha Tsui.
The thieves, a man and his female companion, were apprehended outside an H&M store on Canton Road at about 5 pm, Sing Tao Daily reports.
Police were quoted as saying that the duo was using a specially made paper bag to steal brand name clothing items from shops in the area.
An inspection revealed 18 pieces of unpaid-for clothing items inside a paper bag that was in possession of the Mongolians, according to the report.
The stolen items were estimated to be worth HK$5,000 in total.
After intercepting the shoplifters, police took the couple to their hotel room at the nearby Mirador Mansion.
In the hotel room, officers found more than 500 other stolen goods worth over HK$300,000. Inquiries led to another Mongolian member of the gang being arrested later.
The three Mongolians were believed to have arrived in Hong Kong four days ago and engaged in a series of shoplifting capers.
According to the police, the trio used special paper bags with tin foil to avoid detection by anti-theft devices installed at fashion outlets.
It is suspected that they were preparing to ship the stolen goods to mainland China and sell them.
As the Chinese New Year approaches, police plan to increase patrols in the shopping areas to deter potential thieves, said Chan Yun-kam, assistant commander of the Tsim Sha Tsui district police.
The Mongolians who were caught were clearly experienced in their trade.
According to the police, one of the visitors would hold on to a bag while the other would snip off tags from the clothing items with a small pair of scissors when shop personnel were not watching.
It is believed that the group was involved in at least 20 thefts after they arrived in Hong Kong, Ming Pao Daily News reports.
In just three days, the Mongolians stole at least 500 pieces of clothing goods, pointing to a well-planned racket.
Police are looking for possible accomplices after holding the three persons in custody.
January 17 (gogo.mn) Due to extreme cold warning and influenza outbreak, the Ministry of Education extended the secondary school winter vacations till January 30th at both government-run schools and private schools.
The decision will apply to all students of 1st-12th grades.
In view of the weather forecast by meteorological department, cold air outbreak from Siberia will hit the northwest half of Mongolia on Jan 15th and bring extreme cold weather in most regions this week.
School holidays extended – Montsame, January 17
Mongolia extends school winter vacation due to extreme cold – news.mn, January 17
Ulaanbaatar, January 13 (MONTSAME) Mongolian surgeons have successfully introduced vascular surgery using angiography. Financed by the Millennium Challenge Account, angiography apparatus were installed in the State Third Clinical Hospital within technologic renovations in health sector. The surgeons of the clinic have made neuro-vascular surgery on 64 patients.
Angiography or arteriography is a medical imaging technique used to visualize the inside, or lumen, of blood vessels and organs of the body, with particular interest in the arteries, veins, and the heart chambers.
Cost of this kind of surgery depends on various factors including position of arteries, veins of brain and state of disease and in developed countries, the surgery is generally performed for MNT80-200 million. However, Mongolian surgeons operate the surgery at around MNT10 million, counting only costs for single-use surgical devices, medical equipment and materials required for the surgery. Some 70 per cent of the surgery fee to be covered from health insurance fund.
Ulaanbaatar, January 17 (MONTSAME) Minister for Health A.Tsogtsetseg received Charles Gore, President of World Hepatitis Alliance on January 16 to exchange views on the treatment of hepatitis, spread of which is considered high in Mongolia.
"Many countries in the world are clueless as to how to fight against hepatitis. In recent years, Mongolia has made big investments against hepatitis viruses with the Government paying due attention and resolving the fund. This is a lesson for other countries", the President said, and asked the Minister which actions are taken in Mongolia to fight against the liver infection.
"Fighting against hepatitis is a responsibility of the Government. We function a finance mechanism which enables us deliver medical services as urgent as possible. We provided a possibility to purchase hepatitis C drugs with discount from certified pharmacies. As such, Health Insurance Fund of Mongolia started giving away a discount of MNT 210 thousand for buying 5 different drugs which are used to treat hepatitis C. Also, we conducted medical examinations in Arkhangai aimag, and we are working towards facilitating the treatment for people who were diagnosed with the virus", informed the Minister.
"There are lots to do in regard to hepatitis B and C. The Mongolian Ministry of Health is planning to form a working group to handle the issue", said the Minister.
At the end of the meeting, Mr. Gore invited the Minister to attend World Hepatitis Summit which is expected to take place on November 1-3 this year.
Ulaanbaatar, January 13 (MONTSAME) On January 12, A.Tsogtsetseg, Minister of Health met with consultants of the World Health Organization, familiarized with their working progress and discussed the directions of future cooperation.
At the meeting, the consultants mentioned that cases of non-infectious diseases are increasing among Mongolians, and especially the use of alcohol and tobacco which affects directly to those diseases.
During their time in Mongolia, the consultants are aiming to conduct economic analysis on excise tax imposed on tobacco and alcohol, and reduce the use of the substances in order to decrease the cases of non-infectious diseases which constitute about 70 percent of population sickness rate of Mongolia. Thus, non-infectious diseases can be prevented with the least cost, the sides discussed.
The WHO consultants will give seminars and hold meetings with number of government organizations, relevant NGOs, and international institutions.
Ulaanbaatar, January 17 (MONTSAME) In accordance with the granted right of international TOPCIT exam to the National Information Technology Park of Mongolia, the first exam will be announced and organized in coming February as an introduction.
Test of Practical Competency in ICT (TOPCIT) is a performance-evaluation-centered test designed to diagnose and assess the competency of ICT specialists and SW developers that is critically needed to perform jobs on the professional frontier.
TOPCIT was developed and is administered by South Korea's Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning and the Institute for Information and Communications Technology Promotion. They are government agencies that overlook and manage ICT related R&D, policy, and HR development.
Delegates from NITP and Communication and Information Technology Agency visited the Republic of Korea at the invitation of the Institute for Information and Communications Technology Promotion for the preparation of the exam. The delegates participated in TOPCIT Global Workshop and held meetings with relevant officials to determine cooperation area in IT sector between two countries, to stabilize operation of TOPCIT test center, to improve the skill of human resource of the industry, and to expand the collaboration.
Ulaanbaatar, January 17 (MONTSAME) "Using ICT properly in improvement of primary education quality in rural area' project has been completed and a conclusion ceremony of the project was held on January 12.
The five year- project was jointly implemented by Mongolian University of Education, Tokyo Institute of Technology and Departments of Education, Culture and Art of aimags and the capital, starting in 2012.
The project aimed at improving primary education quality through supporting development of primary grade teachers of secondary schools in aimags and the capital city. Project coordinator and Professor of Tokyo Institute of Technology Yume Yamaguchi said that as a result of the project she hopes that teachers have learnt how to use ICT in their teachings.
January 17 (news.mn) It is exactly 21 years since the 'Datacom' company connected Mongolia to the world wide web. On 17th of January 1996, the company connected the capital, Ulaanbaatar, to California via 128 kbps. cables. Over the years, much has changed: today, smartphones are Mongolia's most popular device for getting online using 4G coverage. Of the reported 1.1 million Internet subscribers in Mongolia (2014), five out of six access the Internet via their mobiles.
January 13 (gogo.mn) Tsagaan Sar is celebrated according to the lunar calendar. The date falls anywhere between the end of January and early March in the Gregorian calendar. This year, Bituun or the Tsagaan Sar Eve occurs on February 26th.
According to the Law on Celebrating Public Festivals and Memorable Days, the First day of Tsagaan Sar to Third Day of Tsagaan Sar is official non-working public holiday in nationwide.
Therefore, this year's Tsagaan Sar vacation will last from Feb 27 to Mar 1.
Ulaanbaatar, January 13 (MONTSAME) The Mongol Naadam Complex and the Mongolian National Commission for UNESCO signed a memorandum of mutual understanding on cooperation on January 12.
The purpose of this document is to promote the Mongolian cultural heritages registered in the UNESCO's list of World Heritage through the activities of the Mongol Naadam complex, to expand information database and organize joint training and seminars with a view to enhance the professional skills of the staff.
"The traditional Naadam Festival is a national symbol of Mongolian traditions and culture with a long history. It is a good opportunity to promote Mongolia abroad and attract foreign tourists. In the scope of the memorandum, we are planning to carry-out a large number of activities such as, improving the employee's abilities, adopting international standards into our operations, and the development of the Mongolian Naadam Festival" said the head of the Mongol Naadam Complex N.Batsumberel.
Conference/Symposium | February 3 | 1-6:30 p.m. | 180 Doe Library
Urbanization, globalization, and climate change have had a powerful effect on the ways Mongolians and Inner Mongolians relate to their environment, and this is transforming many of their cultural forms. This conference seeks to increase awareness of the relationships been musical expression and the ecological, economic and political issues impacting residents in different ethnic groups in both rural and urban Mongolia.
A Keynote Address by Erdene Luvsannorov will be followed by performances of Mongolian music and singing.
A workshop on Mongolian music will be held on Saturday, February 4. Registration required and enrollment limited; preference will be given to UC Berkeley and Cal State East Bay students with current ID. For details and registration information, see http://events.berkeley.edu/index.php/calendar/sn/ieas.html?event_ID=104661.
This symposium and workshop follow a concert, "Music and Song from Mongolia," to be held at Cal State University East Bay, 7:30 PM in Room MB1055.
Speakers and Performers:
Andrew Colwell, Wesleyan University
Charlotte D'Evelyn, Marymount Loyola University
Erdene Luvsannorov, Inner Mongolian University of Art, Huhhot, China
Peter Marsh, Cal State East Bay
Jennifer Post, University of Arizona
Tamir Hargana, Mongolian Musician
Urtaa Gantulga, Mongolian Musician
Dimitri Staszewski, mongolmusicarchive.com
Sunmin Yoon, University of Delaware
Event contact: email@example.com, 510-642-2809
Mongolia and Inner Asia Studies Unit, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research
Jan 24, 2017
Seminar Room, The Mond Building, Free School Lane
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Ulaanbaatar, January 17 (MONTSAME) An Inner Mongolian scholar is awarded a highest prize of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences. The "Khubilai Khaan" golden medal is presented to Professor B.Gerelt in recognition of his contribution to the development of medical sector of Mongolia.
An award medal was handed over to him by the President of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences, academician D.Regdel on January 17.
Prof. Gerelt established a Mongolian Medicinal Plants Laboratory in 1999, which is fully provided with modern high-precision equipment from Japan, Germany and USA.
At the end of 1999, the laboratory was expanded as a Chemical Institute of Traditional Mongolian Medicine at the Inner Mongolia University. Since 2000, he has been performing research and studies in cooperation with the Technology and Production Corporation.
Furthermore, his academic research work on AIDS attracts attention of scientists and researchers among his large number of academic works, including technical standards and guidelines of more than 10 new drugs he made for approval and introduction in practice.
January 14 (TopYaps) The Rig Veda speaks highly of Soma – a drink that held ritual importance in Vedic India. The drink was considered holy and was offered to the Vedic King of Gods Indra and the all-powerful Agni. It was also a necessary part of the important rituals.
The third verse of the 48th hymn in the eight chapter of Rig Veda, which is dedicated to Soma, reads:
अपाम सोममम्र्ता अभूमागन्म जयोतिरविदाम देवान |
किं नूनमस्मान कर्णवदरातिः किमु धूर्तिरम्र्त मर्त्यस्य ||
(We have drunk Soma and become immortal; we have attained the light, the Gods discovered. Now what may a foe's malice do to harm us? What, O Immortal, mortal man's deception?)
Soma was given an equal pedestal in Zoroastrian faith which had similar gods as in Vedic Hinduism. The Iranians, where Zoroastrianism flourished before the Islamic invasion, called Soma, Hoama because of the absence of the letter 'S' in the language.
Like Rig Veda, the Zoroastrians, too, mentioned it in their holy book, Avesta.
Yet thousands of years down the line, no one was able to know the name of the plant or edible that was used to make Soma. Speculations ranged from opium to cannabis but nothing was conclusive.
The secret appears to have been unearthed and it is thanks to a carpet. Yes, a carpet!
Russian archaeologists discovered a 2000-year-old carpet in 2009 from a burial chamber in Mongolia. The carpet, in a good condition, revealed that it reached Mongolia from Syria or Palestine, where it was spun. But before reaching Mongolia, it passed through north-western India.
It was in north-western India where the carpet underwent embroidery. It is this embroidery which appears to reveal the secret of Soma.
The embroidery shows an Iranian ritualistic high figure – a king of priest – holding a mushroom in his hands. There is another man looking intently at it.
According to Natalia V. Polosmak, Chief Researcher: "The 'divine mushroom' embroidered on the carpet resembles well-known psychoactive species Psilocybe cubensis."
UNFPA hands over 2,465 Dignity Kits to NEMA for immediate distribution
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, January 12 (UNFPA Mongolia) - According to the Water, Climate and Environmental Research Institute reports dated on 03 January 2017, the winter conditions have become difficult in 127 soums of 17 aimags and 2 districts of Ulaanbaatar city, directly affecting the lives of nomadic, herding households in Mongolia. In response, UNFPA takes the lead in addressing the special needs of women and girls in the affected communities by procuring 2,465 Dignity Kits, worth 160,000,000MNT. These Dignity Kits were handed over by UNFPA today to NEMA for immediate distribution to the aforementioned areas.
The UNFPA signature Dignity Kits are designed and assembled to help women and girls maintain an acceptable level of hygiene, sanitation, health and well-being within the context of humanitarian situations. Dignity kits include such items as sanitary supplies, clothes, socks and underwear; laundry soaps and bath soaps; towels; and toothbrushes and toothpaste. Additionally, they also include a torch with batteries so that women will have the ability to travel or move about safely at night, as well as an emergency whistle in cases of distress – it has been proven that women and girls are particularly vulnerable to gender-based and sexual violence in the wake of natural disasters among other challenges.
"Unfortunately, the needs of women and girls are often not prioritized and even forgotten in the Dzud. The needs of women and girls might be secondary when affected families face economic pressures from the loss of livelihood and have to cope with limitations of resources such as the lack of disposable income. Further, environmental impediments to mobility due to the heavy snow, bars access to necessary everyday items that women and girls need," says Naomi Kitahara, UNFPA Representative. "However, UNFPA believes that women are the backbone of Mongolian society and that preserving their dignity, their sense of well-being and their health should come first. This is essential to surviving such a disaster and to successfully moving forward. "
The hand-over of these Dignity Kits to NEMA for its distribution to the affected areas is part of the efforts aimed to strengthen the capacity of the NEMA and broaden its experience in responding to the specific needs of the women and girls during the emergency.
Ulaanbaatar, January 13 (MONTSAME) "Mercy Corps" NGO has announced a call for a tender for subproject on supporting the reduction of negative influence caused by dzud or winter disaster in Zavkhan province, among NGOs.
The project with a financing of up to MNT 50 million aims to improve the livelihood of herders, who are facing dzud. The project will continue 80 days from March 13, 2017.
The project implementer will carry out activities, such as decreasing the number of livestock animals directed at pasture rehabilitation and improving services of veterinary hospitals, providing animal fodder, livestock fencing and water in order to support herders, who lost their livestock animals in winter disaster, in accordance with the LEGS - the livestock emergency guidelines and standards.
Ulaanbaatar, January 17 (MONTSAME) On January 16, the National Agency for Meteorology and Environmental Monitoring of Mongolia informed that the average air temperature and precipitation level of 2016 was close to multi-year average in Mongolia.
In particular, due to heavy snowfall in the northern region of Mongolia during the first 10 days of November 2016, dzud or harsh winter disaster occurred in some regions of Mongolia and snow depth reached 10-40 cm and even 50-60 cm in some aimags, such as Uvs, Zavkhan, Bulgan, Selenge, Tuv, Khentii and Dornod.
The nighttime temperature was around -42-44C in the mountainous areas of Khangai and Khuvsgul and in regions along the Tuul and Onon Rivers on November 18-22, which was recorded as the coldest November in the last 20 years in Mongolia.
The officials underlined that there were some 69 incidence of natural disaster hit Mongolia, including strong wind, storm, torrential rain, mudflow floods, thunder and lightning in 2016. For instance, a loss of MNT 1.7 billion was occurred, being caused by temporary heavy rains took place in Ulgii soum of Bayan-Ulgii province on July 10 and in Ulaangom soum of Uvs province on August 7.
January 16 (UB Post) An outbreak of disease has killed 727 Saiga antelope and three black-tailed deer in Govi-Altai Province, according to officials.
A working group established last week is continuing to take measures to control the spread of the disease in Tonkhil and Darvi soums of Govi-Altai Province, believed to the outbreak's epicenter.
In every soum hit by the outbreak, the working group is burying disinfected carcasses in holes that are three-meters deep, and warning families living in Chandmani and Darvi soums of the disease outbreak, as recommended by the Ministry of Environment, Green Development and Tourism.
Saiga antelope is a critically endangered species that inhabits land in six soums of Govi-Altai and Khovd provinces. The species was in danger of extinction due to illegal trafficking and adverse weather conditions, but various protection measures carried out by the Mongolian program team of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) helped increase the population to 13,800 by 2015, according to B.Chimmeddorj, manager of the Mongolian program team.
Head of Govi-Altai Province's Emergency Management Department Sh.Gan-Erdene noted that this is the first known mass death of Saiga antelope that has occurred in Mongolia, and explained that it is most likely linked to cases of cattle plague recorded last August in Bulgan soum, Khovd Province.
/January 9, 2017/ More than 400 Saiga antelope have succumbed to disease in Govi-Altai Province, according to local media.
Govi-Altai Province's Department of Specialized Inspection and Emergency Agency formed a working group to search the area for sick antelope and any carcasses. Experts suspect the disease may be a form of cattle plague. Reportedly, the working group is taking measures in Tonkhil and Darvi soums of Govi-Altai Province, believed to be the outbreak's epicenter, to prevent further spread of the disease.
Extermination and disinfection operations are said to be ongoing in Khaliun, Sharga, Khukh-Morit, and Bayan-Uul soums.
Kh.Tumur-Ochir, a spokesperson for the Govi-Altai Province Emergency Agency, said that the outbreak of the disease occurred just before New Year's Eve. He said that a few Saiga antelope and wild goats were found dead in a river in Naran baga of Yusunbulag soum, Govi-Altai Province.
January 13 (gogo.mn) Reindeer population is on increase. The reindeer population in northern Khuvsgul province has been growing in recent years to reach 2040 reindeers showing an increase of 185 heads of reindeers or 9.9 percent compared to the previous year, according to an annual livestock census which was conducted at the end of the past year.
The reindeer population, which was counted at over 2 thousand during the 1970s, declined to 926 at the end of 2007 facing the threat of extinction.
Thanks to central and municipal government measures and policies, the reindeer population has been increasing.
The decree of the President of Mongolia to give benefits to reindeer herders resulted in an improved livelihood and decline in sales of their reindeers. Also, a project to improve reindeer breed by bringing reindeers from neighboring countries is giving its benefits in Khuvsgul province.
GEOJE, South Korea, Jan. 13 (Korea Bizwire) – A 60-centimeter-tall eagle was found trapped in a net surrounding a farm in a village near Geoje Wednesday morning. The bird was quickly rescued by local 911 emergency responders, who temporarily moved it to a nearby barn.
According to city officials, the eagle was dehydrated and seemingly in a weak physical condition, barely eating food, including raw chicken, that was offered by officials on both Wednesday and Thursday.
Officials plan to transport the eagle to the Gyeongsang National University Animal Medical Center in Jinju, a city some 50 kilometers away, if it continues its struggle to recover.
On the ankle of the bird was an identification tag with writings including Mongolia, Denver Zoo, 2016, and the number 516. On its right wing was another tag that read U7.
Experts speculate that Denver Zoo officials took the bird to Mongolia for research, and released it after placing the tags on it, suggesting that it became weak during its migratory flight and touched down on the Korean Peninsula to rest.
In fact, South Gyeongsang Province has become a popular winter habitat for eagles in recent years. Officials estimate that there are roughly 400 eagles making temporary stays in Goseong County, just north of Geoje. These birds spend roughly three to four months here and start heading back north towards the end of March.
"Some 2,000 eagles visit South Korea during the wintertime, many of them from Mongolia, flying through Chifeng and Liaoyang in China, then Sinuiju and Pyongsong in North Korea," said Paek Woon-kee, an eagle researcher from the National Science Museum. "They travel a total distance of 1,740 kilometers in 22 days."
January 17 (news.mn) It has been decided that Hans Michael Weiss, a German coach is to train the Mongolian national football team. The decision was taken by the Executive Committee of the Mongolian Football Federation during a meeting held on 14th of January.
51-year old, Hans Michael Weiss received his professional coach license from UEFA in 2004. He speaks fluently in English, Japanese, French and Spanish. Previously Mr Weiss worked with the Philippine national football team (FIFA Ranking 122), the Chinese Olympic team and Rwanda's football team.
January 16 (UB Post) The 2017 State Boxing Championship, which took place at the Central Sports Palace, concluded on Sunday, January 15.
A total of 201 boxers from 39 teams fought in nine weight categories for men and eight weight categories for women.
The tournament featured bouts with top Mongolian boxers such as Olympic bronze medalist D.Otgondalai, International Sports Master E.Tsendbaatar, G.Gandulam, Kh.Enkh-Amar, G.Gan-Erdene, and M.Nandintsetseg.
The most anticipated fight was the match between D.Otgondalai and E.Tsendbaatar in
the men's 60 kg event. E.Tsendbaatar, last year's champion in the men's 56 kg category, put on weight and competed in the men's 60 kg category this year. The fight ended with a devastating loss for D.Otgondalai.
Below are more results from the championship.
January 16 (Judo Inside) 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Sainjargal Nyam-Ochir announced to retire. He was next in the line of many retirements since the Olympic Games. Previously in his category Dex Elmont and Hiroyuki Akimoto announced to retire.
Sainjargal's retirement was announced by Mongolian judo federation at the ocassion of this weekend's National Championships: "One of the legends, national judo star Sainjargal NYAM-OCHIR has announced that he is ending his athlete career. He was a very successful judoka in our team with olympic bronze medal from London, bronze medal from Astana World Championships, Asian champion, Grand Slam winner, Masters winner and he has got a medal collection from every competition. Behalf of the fans we are wishing him very best and successful upcoming years. Thank you for everything you have done to #judomongolia"
Sainjargal won bronze at the 2015 World Championships in Astana. He won the Masters in 2013 and booked six other major tournament victories in Düsseldorf, Sao Paulo, Ulaanbaatar (2x), Tashkent and his biggest in Paris in 2012. He competed at World Chapmpinoships since 2007 and he was World Ranking leader in 2013.
January 16 (UB Post) Gymnasts of the Mongolian Gymnastics Federation seized three gold and one silver medals from an international gymnastics tournament in Blagoveshchensk, Russia from January 13 to 15.
Over 100 gymnasts of 14 teams from Mongolia, Russia and the Philippines competed in the tournament.
Mongolian gymnast E.Erdenebold competed in the men's sport II category against nine athletes and claimed a gold medal with 60.9 points.
D.Enkhtuvshin also won a gold medal in the men's sport I category, and was followed by another Mongolian gymnast, B.Boldbaatar.
A.Enkhtulga of Mongolia competed in the men's adult category and secured a gold medal.
The Mongolian gymnastic team held a joint training with Russian gymnasts in Blagoveshchensk before the tournament.
January 16 (UB Post) Over 700 footballers competed in boys' U-11 and U-13, and girls'U-11, U-13, U-15 and U-17 categories of the State Junior Futsal Championship, which concluded on January 12, after 10 days of intense competition.
Arvis FC teams won the medal tally this year.
In the boys' U-11 category, Deren FC defeated Arvis in the gold medal match.
Tuv Province team secured the boys' U-11 bronze medal.
Arvis FC won gold medal in the boys' U-13 category, and was followed by DMU FC and Khovd Province.
In the girls' U-11 category, Arvis FC seized gold medal yet again. Arkhangai Province team and Khan- Uul District won second and third places respectively.
In the girls' U-13 category, Arvis FC were victories, with the silver medal going to Titem Khujirt FC of Uvurkhangai Province and the bronze medal to Sansar FC.
Shine Yarmag FC won its very rst gold medal in the girls' U-15 category. The team was followed by Khan-Uul District team and Arvis FC.
The girls' U-17 category ended with Khad FC's victory. Arvis FC won another silver medal and the bronze medal went to Khan-Uul District team.
Ts.Purevdorj was named the best referee of the State Junior Futsal Championship 2017.
Best players in each category:
January 13 (news.mn) 85 year-old skater, Z.Janchiv won a silver medal at the National Speed-skating Championship of Mongolia, which took place at Khandgait on 7th of January. Over 60 skaters, aged 30 and above, participated in the competition which was organized by the Mongolian Speed-skating Association. Z.Janchiv competed in the 300 meter category for athletes aged 65 and over.
Z.Janchiv graduated from the National University of Mongolia in 1959. As a second-year student, he became interested in skating and practiced with athletes from the National Youth Team. Later he went on to win gold, and silver medals in national competitions.
January 17 (North Queensland Register) A north west Queensland endurance rider is calling for nominations for her inaugural ride through the Gobi Desert in south Mongolia.
After competing in the longest and toughest horse race in the world – Mongol Derby – Camille Champagne Bargenquast is preparing her own endurance ride in conjunction with an internationally experienced Mongolian vet and two endurance riders from America.
Ms Bargenquast is the co-manager of Linda Downs station located 225 kilometres south west of Mount Isa and will travel overseas to organise what she describes as "a most prestigious endurance ride", the Gobi Desert Cup.
"While racing in Mongolia last year, I realised that three-quarters of the riders couldn't handle the roughness of the horses and the race situation in general," Ms Bargenquast said.
"From the food which consisted of floating bits of mutton fat in a soup, the danger of camping wherever at nights with semi-wild horses, the distance, being on your own with no assistance (only serious emergency) and no showers for 10 days. Those people around me weren't prepared and their experience wasn't a success.
"I was listening to the riders around me. They inspired us to create the Gobi Desert Cup."
The Gobi Desert Cup is a 480km endurance race in which riders compete for six days, riding 80km a day. Starting at sunrise every morning, each must reach the camp before sunset. Two vet checks are held in a day; one at the 40km checkpoint and another one at the end of the 80km.
"Every night riders will camp together and enjoy the luxury of basic amenities and meals prepared by a five star chef," Ms Bargenquast said.
"Each day riders will ride a new Mongolian horse that has been qualified, selected and trained especially to compete in the Gobi Desert Cup. This endurance ride is all about completing the race, and having a great time while discovering the Mongolian culture."
January 13 (Press and Journal) If you are feeling a bit chilly after the recent arrival of winter in Scotland, spare a thought for Dr Andrew Murray.
This is somebody who can't allow himself to become discombobulated when the mercury drops a notch or two. Because tomorrow, he flies out to Mongolia to compete in the Genghis Khan Ice Marathon, where the temperatures will be a teeth-chittering -35oC and he will not so much be dancing with wolves as trying to evade them.
It's not a prospect for the faint-hearted, but Andrew is used to racing off into the wilds these days and tackling extreme challenges with the attitude they are there to be seized by the scruff of the neck.
And why not? After all, the 36-year-old Aberdonian boasts a cv which testifies to his astonishing exploits across the world in every terrain and regardless of whether the weather adheres to the film description "Some Like It Hot" or "the Big Chill"
In recent times, he has competed a vast number of extreme and record-breaking fundraising achievements, including running seven ultramarathons on seven continents within seven days.
He has been involved in a 4,300km trek from John O'Groats to the Sahara Desert, journeyed to the top of Britain's seven highest peaks in the space of a day, and traversed the globe's most testing conditions from the Terelj Mountains in Mongolia to the Altai Mountains in the Gobi Desert.
As you might surmise, nothing unduly fazes this redoubtable customer wherever he ventures and it's a measure of his resilience and stamina that the day after he triumphed in last year's Genghis Khan odyssey, Andrew decided to run a little matter of 110km (70 miles) from the finishing line to the Mongolian capital, Ulaanbaatar.
He explained: "I think some people get concerned about the cold and yes, it's very cold over there, but if you get yourself wrapped up, put on a balaclava and some extra socks and you have prepared properly, these type of events are a really brilliant experience.
"Last year, I went out and ran some miles in Royal Deeside and, of course, it was much, much colder in Mongolia than Scotland, to the point where people couldn't defreeze the diesel, cars and trucks were stuck in the frost, and it was actually easier to run than drive.
"But I have grown used to these extremes and it wasn't as much of a shock for me as one of my rivals, who made the journey from Brisbane. He went from 30 degrees to -40 in the space of about 36 or 48 hours.
"I have always been interested in sport [Andrew also works with the European Golf Tour and the Scottish Rugby Union] but one of the great things about these challenges is how you get the opportunity to see parts of the world where you never imagined you would go.
"I mean, I have been to deserts, to jungles, to wild parts of the planet, and I've gone into the Arctic and there are always new sights to see and people to meet from different cultures. And these extreme runs have the capacity to bring people together as well.
"I am honest about it: I am not the quickest runner who has ever lived, but I have experience, and I know what my body is capable of, and these are advantages.
"I also think it is easier to run in extreme cold than extreme heat. After all, when it's the former, you can always find yourself the clothing which allows you to put on extra layers. But what do you do when it's really hot? You can't take your skin off!"
That philosophy oozes from the north-east man. And yet, he only started running seriously at around the age of 30 – after playing football and tennis during his years at Aberdeen University- since when he has made up for lost time.
He first hit the headlines in 2011 when he covered an incredible 2,664 miles on the long and gruelling road from John O'Groats to the Sahara Desert. At that point, researchers at Coventry University calculated that he consumed enough calories every day of the trek to power an 800kg crocodile.
He gained further headlines with an epic display in the North Pole Marathon, which attracted over 40 participants from 16 countries.
Indeed, it sounds more like a military punishment than a sporting blast. To minimise the risk of participants falling through cracks in the ice, the event took place on a 4.2km circuit, which Andrew and his opponents had to circumnavigate ten times.
In another twist away from your normal athletics competition, armed guards were stationed around the course, in case the sight of humans running in circles provided an irresistible smorgasbord for hungry polar bears.
But he thrived in that environment, just as he has done throughout his peregrinations. "It was tough, because running through snow is very similar to running through sand," he admitted. "But although it takes a lot more effort and you feel a lot more tired than you would at the end of a standard marathon, it was unforgettable as well."
Andrew doesn't merely indulge in his passion for the sake of it. On the contrary, he has become one of the most successful fundraisers of his generation and has already amassed over £170,000 for the Scottish Association of Mental Health, the African Palliative Care Association UK and the Yamaa Trust.
He has also worked tirelessly to highlight the myriad benefits of exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle and has promoted voluntary medical services in such diverse locations as Kenya, Outer Mongolia and Namibia.
That litany of good works helps explain why Andrew recently received a commendation from the Prime Minister, Theresa May, who told him: "Your remarkable running challenges are raising funds for three important charities, but also inspiring countless people to become more active."
As somebody dedicated to improving health and well-being, that latter reference is clearly a priority for Andrew. And although he is a modest man, who doesn't ask to be compared to Olympic champions such as Mo Farah or Jessica Ennis-Hill, he has gradually, inexorably demonstrated the sound sense of his arguments by pushing his body through the wringer and enjoying every step of his many journeys.
He said: "To be honest, running around in deserts and all sorts of cold places and having the opportunity to work with communities in projects across the world and back home have all been great fun.
"I would totally encourage people to explore, try new things, and also to volunteer – it has given me some of the best and most memorable experiences of my life. I am also very passionate about promoting physical activity.
"The reason for this is quite straightforward: as a GP and a father, I think regular physical activity is the single best present we can give our patients and our children – offering seven years of extra life, better health and increasing happiness."
It's the time of year when many people commit themselves to diets, fitness regimes and other detox programmes and there will be plenty of Scots who have signed up to participate in the growing number of organised mass athletics events across Scotland, including the inaugural Great Aberdeen Run later in the summer.
But, despite being an advocate of people getting off their sofas and donning their track suits, Andrew isn't naive. As he knows, it would be both unwise and potentially dangerous for anybody to take part in a long-distance or extreme event without going through the right preparatory steps.
He told the Press and Journal: "There are some tips which I would like to recommend for those embarking on new challenges. Run Far: build up your distance on a once-weekly long run, so you can comfortably run two-thirds of the distance in the race you are targeting. Then, Run Fast: running as quickly as you can once or twice a week helps build speed.
"Next, Fuel the Tank: it doesn't matter how good a car is, if it has no fuel in the tank, it is going nowhere. Likewise, the human body. Eat small amounts often if you are running a half marathon or longer.
"And also, learn to Sleep like a Champion: many of the best athletes sleep over 10 hours a day. Aim for at least seven or eight if possible to help your body recover.
"Importantly, do your best to Eat Fruit and Veg: this is the food of champions and contains all sorts of goodness and things which boost your immune system.
"And, lastly, Remember to Smile at the Finish: you've earned it with all your training."
Dr Andrew Murray's diary is permanently busy, but he is clearly relishing life travelling to the ends of the earth and in extreme conditions.
He will only spend 11 days in Mongolia and will be heading back shortly after the Genghis Khan event on January 27, but it's a safe bet he won't be resting on his laurels for long.
Like his tennis namesake, he's always planning ahead for fresh tests of his mettle.
Dr Andrew Murray is a GP and Merrell UK ambassador. To find out more information about Andrew's marathon gear head to www.merrell.co.uk
Ulaanbaatar, January 13 (MONTSAME) A "White Khadag" movie produced by "Khulegu Pictures" film company and the Mongolian Judo Association, has been nominated to the International Film Festivals. The movie based on the life of judoka D.Sumiya, State Honored Athlete of Mongolia and silver medalist of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
"White Khadag" movie was selected by the Asian Cinema Competition and has been nominated to the 15th "Dhaka International Film Festival", to be held on January 12-20 in Bangladesh, 9th "Bengaluru International Film", which will take place on February 2-9 in India.
January 14 (Salisbury Journal) THE true story of a young Mongolian tribeswoman and her hunting eagle is at the centre of a film being screened at Salisbury Arts Centre.
The documentary The Eagle Huntress follows Aisholpan, a 13-year-old nomadic Mongolian girl who is fighting to become the first female eagle hunter in 12 generations of her Kazakh family.
With eight wins and 16 nominations for film awards, the film is narrated by Star Wars actress Daisy Ridley.
It is being shown at 7.30pm on Thursday, January 19. Call 01722 321744 for tickets or go to salisburyartscentre.co.uk.
Ulaanbaatar, January 17 (MONTSAME) Young painter M.Gan-Ochir has planned to open his third personal exhibition named "Pattern of Soul" at the State History Museum of the State House.
The exhibition will feature his over 30 modern and abstract artworks, depicting Mongolian traditional patterns. The talented and promising young painter M.Gan-Ochir was graduated from the Mongolian Fine Art Institute in 2009 and has displayed his art works at exhibitions held in South Korea, Japan and Germany.
January 17 (news.mn) The Mongolian Circus has won the prestigious Grand Prix at the 25th 'Massy' international competition was held in Paris.
The Mongolian National circus led by T.Namuunbaatar won four golds, one silver for their 'Nomadic Mongolia' performance.
The 'Massy' international competition is considered as the circus Olympics.
Ulaanbaatar, January 17 (MONTSAME) A team of Mongolian ice sculptors received one silver and three bronze medals from the 31st Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival in China.
During the team competition held from December 31 to January 4, Mongolia ice sculptors G.Enkh-Erdene, E.Uugantsetseg and Ts.Munkh-Erdene won bronze medals by their "Contortionist" ice sculptures.
At the next competition of single ice category took place on January 5-8, a sculpture named "Secret" made by E.Uugantsetseg and Ts.Munkh-Erdene took a bronze medal and a sculpture named "Son of the Sky" created by D.Dorjnamjil, Kh.Solongo, S.Tsend-Ochir and Kh.Altankhuu received a silver medal. Another sculpture named "Health world" built by ice sculptors E.Uugantsetseg, Ts.Munkh-Erdene and G.Enkh-Erdene won bronze medal.
The Mongolian sculptures displayed Mongolian traditional culture and heritages through their artworks addressing the issue of environmental protection. Ice sculptors of Mongolia have been participating Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival since 2010 and win top prizes every year.
Moreover, Mongolian ice sculptors have participated in the World Competitions in Alaska, USA for the last five years and won two silver and one bronze medals. They are also heading to Colorado, USA to attend the Ice and Snow Sculptors Festival in five days.
January 16 (UB Post) On their third participation, Moon Dance group came in fifth place at the WDSF World Championship Formation Latin Adult (WDSF Championship), which took place in Bremen, Germany on December 10, 2016.
Moon Dance was formed just three years ago, yet they have made significant achievements, winning the State Dance Competition twice and taking fifth place at the WDSF Championship
last year. Moon Dance leader O.Erdene-Ochir spoke in depth about the group and the significance of their latest achievement in the interview below.
Congratulations. Tell us about this year's WDSF Championship. Moon Dance competed on "Mongolia's Got Talent" while preparing for the WDSF Championship, right?
Thank you very much. Our group has just returned after a successful participation at the WDSF Championship, held in Germany last December. We were able to become one of the top six teams by placing fifth and bring Mongolia's first award from an international dance event.
"Mongolia's Got Talent" was announced when we were rehearsing for the world championships. So we decided to take part and went to Germany after finishing the show. Had we gone to the finals of "Mongolia's Got Talent", we wouldn't have been able to perform at the WDSF Championship. Nevertheless, the show didn't hinder our preparation for the championship because we couldn't make it past the top 32 on the show. The reason we decided to perform on "Mongolia's Got Talent" is because we wanted to introduce Moon Dance to not only people in Ulaanbaatar but everyone in the country. I'm glad we were able to achieve our original purpose and compete in the WDSF Championship in good shape.
Moon Dance performed a brand new choreography, called "Ice Queen", at the WDSF Championship. Did your choreographer O.Sarankhuu prepare the dance?
Moon Dance participated in the WDSF Championship twice before. We have been changing the choreography every year. Some teams rehearse a dance for two whole years. I noticed that some teams performed the same choreography they danced last year.
We performed our "Tarzan" dance on our first year at the WDSF Championship, "Marina" on our second year, and "Ice Queen" this time. Our Moon Dance club co-directors and coaches O.Sarankhuu and N.Oyunbat choreographed "Ice Queen".
"Ice Queen" consists of five different types of dance. As for our costume, we wanted to make our girls look like Ice Queens and boys like Ice Knights. We started rehearsing the dance from last August. In the middle of our preparation, we went on "Mongolia's Got Talent", so we danced only a part of "Ice Queen".
Moon Dance ranked third at first, and then slid back to fifth at the finals. What did you think about the judging?
Other groups started paying attention to our rehearsal for the final performance because they heard that an Asian group, moreover a group from Mongolia, made it to the finals. When we finished our final performance, other groups came to congratulate us. The judges underlined that our group was exceptional for a group formed only three years ago, and remarked that we were "stars of the new generation". They said we ranked after Russian DUET Perm group, which came in second.
Can you tell us about Moon Dance members? What is the average age of your dancers?
Our dance group was formed in May 2013. Our dancers are all former students of Moon Dance Club. We have 16 members, two extra dancers, and two coaches. Six of our members are studying dance at the moment and the rest are amateur dancers studying in different fields at universities, such as the Mongolian University of Science and Technology and the Mongolian National University of Medical Sciences. We had 16 of our dancers compete at the latest WDSF Championship.
We have dancers who came all the way from Erdenet city and Khuvsgul Province to join the club. Our dancers are between the ages of 18 and 30. Our coach N.Oyunbat is considered as one of our dancers. Some of our dancers have been dancing for over 10 years, since they were children. Most members have been dancing for at least two years. Dancing isn't easy – it requires a considerable amount of time to learn dancing techniques and skills. Dancers must practice all the time and learn new things every second, minute and hour. Dancing is a combination of art and sport.
In addition, Moon Dance Club constantly trains new members since it holds dance classes for Latin dances. The club has a junior team called Khos Shigtgee. Khos Shigtgee is a two-time champion of the State Dance Competition. Their members are very talented children who will become future Moon Dance members.
The Mongolia Dance Sport Federation received the prestigious Burte Chono Awards right before the New Year's. Do you think Moon Dance's achievement contributed to this?
The World Dance Sport Federation, Asian Dance Sport Federation and Mongolian Dance Sport Federation are our governing organizations. The Mongolian Dance Sport Federation won the Burte Chono Awards for the first time last December. Of course, Moon Dance Club and our group's achievements influenced this. The federation has been organizing dance competitions without losing time. A Mongolian dancer also became an international dance competition judge. All of this must have been considered when the federation was chosen for the award.
Moon Dance is planning to hold a concert. When will it be organized?
We're planning to do our first concert of 2017. The date and time haven't been confirmed yet. Though we're doing quite well in Latin dances, we're capable of doing other forms of dance. Moon Dance Club has hip-hop and traditional dance groups as well. An array of performances will be showcased at our concert.
Many viewers were impressed by the synchronization and unity of Moon Dance during the "Ice Queen" performance at the WDSF Championship. How long do dancers have to train together to be able to move like a single entity?
Group Latin dance is extremely challenging. For example, we must first find 16 members, create choreography, learn to dance in perfect sync, and pay extra attention when changing positions while doing special dance moves. All of this requires tons of practice. We rehearse day and night. We even discuss what facial expressions to show and dance together until we perfect the choreography. Our scores and achievements depend on each member's performance. That's why we follow the famous motto "One for all, all for one". One mistake by a member can ruin everything for the other 15 members and shatter their years' worth of effort. Therefore, every member must be responsible and stay focused.
We were able to come thus far all thanks to our coaches, who have dedicated their whole life to dancing, and support from our friends, families and costume designers.
By the way, is it true that you had German experts fix your dance music for "Ice Queen"? Was the original version produced in Mongolia not fit for the show?
We had to have our dance music meet international standards so we sent it to Germany to have it assessed. The main reason for this is because there isn't a producer specialized in dance music in Mongolia. We tried our best to make sure we beat rival groups in everything – this includes music and costumes. Every year, we wear new costumes decorated with authentic Swarovski crystals. We failed big time in our first year at the WDSF Championship in 2013 when we used fake crystals.
Costumes are very important for dance. How much do you usually spend on costumes?
Our coach designs outfits for us. We have special tailors who make our costumes. Swarovski crystals for costumes are brought from South Korea. Girls and boys both have their costumes decorated, so on average, each member spends 800,000 MNT to one million MNT on costumes.
Our team wears new costumes every year. The old costumes are rented at our club. Many people rent dance costumes for talent shows, festivals and company competitions. Our rent shop has numerous costumes for more than 10 types of dances, such as Latin and ballroom. We spend the income from renting costumes on studio rent, miscellaneous expenses for dance practice and choreography, and the next dance outfits. We don't have a sponsor that finances us so we face challenges in covering transportation, accommodation and food costs when we participate in competitions abroad. The state doesn't support us because dance isn't an Olympic sport. Director of Ulaanbaatar Dance Sport Federation Ts.Altantsetseg covered all our expenses for the WDSF Championship. This stimulated and encouraged us a great deal.
What will Moon Dance do next?
Our plans are very specific for every year. Our next target is to win a medal from the WDSF Championship this year. We came in ninth place in our first year, seventh in our second year, and in fifth place in our third year at the WDSF Championship. We hope to work on our mistakes and continue to improve our achievements like we're doing now. Compared to previous years, we now have a higher chance of winning a medal from the WDSF Championship.
The State Dance Competition will also take place in May. We plan to succeed in this competition and qualify for the WDSF Championship once again.
January 16 (UB Post) Veteran actor U.Batbaatar, who played in more than 100 films and 50 plays, received the State Honored Actor title in December 2016.
During his 33 years in the theater and film industry, U.Batbaatar has won over the hearts and minds of Mongolian audiences with his skilled transformations in every role he brings to life. Most members of the audience were pleased to see the actor finally receive state recognition for his work.
U.Batbaatar spoke about his insecurities before accepting his state title and shared about his challenging journey to becoming an actor in the following interview.
The Mongolian state has awarded you the State Honored Actor title in recognition of your contributions to the film industry and theater. How did you feel receiving this award?
I first heard about this from general director of the Mongolian Film Union J.Solongo on December 26, 2016. She immediately congratulated me on the phone and I was baffled by it. Last year, actor G.Zolboo and I were nominated for this award from the Mongolian Film Union. I was very nervous at the award ceremony for some reason – probably because I was only with my wife there.
My friends and students congratulated me first. The news had already spread on Facebook and Twitter before I realized. I was quite scared though.
What were you scared of?
Mostly, I was anxious of people's reactions.
But haven't your fans been waiting for a long time for you to receive the State Honored Actor title?
I didn't read comments on my Facebook wall at first due to anxiety and fear, but I was very surprised to find out that people were very supportive and happy that I won the title. Many people had shared words of encouragement. I felt ecstatic to learn that viewers valued my talents and skills. Even now, I'm unable to suppress my joy.
Are you proud of yourself?
The thing is that my parents waited for me to receive an award for a long time, my mother in particular. Unfortunately, they passed away before seeing it. At the ceremony, I really wanted a kiss from my parents on my cheek. I'm happy to be able to realize my parents' wish. Right after exiting the State Palace, I looked at the blue sky, took a deep breath and smiled. I'm sure my mother and father watched me receive the state award from the heaven above.
I'm forever in debt to seniors G.Dorjsambuu, L.Lkhasuren, D.Maamkhuu, and S.Sugar, who passed away after teaching me everything they know about acting. I whispered "thank you" to them quietly.
Can you tell us how you entered the theater and film industry? Is it true that you failed the first audition for the Mongolian State University of Education (MSUE)?
I finished middle school in 1983. I decided to become an actor back then. I auditioned for the film and drama class of the MSUE, but failed. I'd passed the skills test but failed the general education test. Since I was determined to become an actor, I was really stuck after failing the audition because I had declined all the other university offers.
What happened afterwards?
I was standing in the corridor when instructor G.Dorjsambuu came and asked me what I was doing. I said I failed and after a while, he led me to the drama department room. He wrote a letter and told me to take it to the Children's and Youth Theater. I was hired at the theater and worked there for nearly two years before I re-auditioned for the MSUE drama and play class again.
I almost failed again. It was because I didn't pass the skills test.
You have been acting at the Children's and Youth Theater for two years. So why did you fail your second audition?
I did every movement done by actor J.Janchivdorj, who was working at the theater at the time. I thought doing the same as him was the way to becoming a great actor and didn't realize that I'd become only his imitation. G.Dorjsambuu was judging auditions and told me that he only saw J.Janchivdorj from my acting and told me that an actor mustn't be bound to only one style of acting. I was shocked, scared and upset to have been disqualified since I was sure I would pass with flying scores. Not a single judge complimented my acting. Right when I was about to exit, onc of the judges called out to me and asked me to perform something else without impersonating or imitating another actor. The judges didn't watch my performance. Instead, they chit chatted and laughed among themselves. Apparently, I wasn't acting in my own style, but I didn't realize it because I was so engrossed in my acting.
I left the room dejected. I thought I'd failed but I'd actually passed. This is how I started my journey to becoming an actor. I was in the same class as State Honored Actress I.Odonchimeg, O.Enkhtuul, Yo.Altangerel and G.Zolboot, who are all amazing actors now.
Did you return to the Children's and Youth Theater after graduating?
No. G.Zolboot, I.Odonchimeg, O.Enkhtuul and I were assigned to a theater in Dundggovi Province. Later, I.Odonchimeg and O.Enkhtuul went to the State Academic Theater of Drama while G.Zolboot and I were recruited by the Army Drama Theater.
How long did you work at the Army Drama Theater?
I worked there until it shut down. The Army Drama Theater renamed itself to Orchin Uye (Modern Times) and transferred some actors to the State Academic Theater of Drama. In the end, it shut down. Since I had no job, I even did what everyone else was doing and started trading, but it wasn't meant for me. So in 1999, I stepped into the film industry.
You probably made many good memories at the Children's and Youth Theater. Did you also meet your wife there?
My wife J.Erdenechimeg was a makeup artist. I still remember the day I saw my wife for the first time. After failing my first audition, I went to the Children's and Youth Theater on July 20, 1983 while holding G.Dorjsambuu's letter addressed to L.Lkhasuren. Some staff members were playing tennis downstairs and so was my wife. She was very good at it. Soon after, we started talking, became attracted to one another and started dating. It's difficult to marry an artist. I was able to receive the State Honored Actor title only because I had my wife – a real hero of labor.
You've taken roles in more than 50 plays and 100 films. Which role was the most difficult to portray?
In 1984, I was given my first role, which was Tulgaa from "Ikh Zamiin Toos" (Dust on the Main Road). This role is very dear to me as it helped me find my road to stardom. I played the role of Bogd Khaan in "Etsiin Shiid" (Final Decision) play at the age of 24. I learned so many things, almost enough to graduate a school, just by working on this role.
I got to meet with famous veteran actors N.Tsegmid and Ts.Gantumur through this play. I listened carefully to every word they said. I played Bogd Khaan in a film production as well. However, I still want to take part in a documentary or film about Bogd Khaan.
The Mongolian film industry was in a crisis from 1990 to 1999. Most actors left the industry during that period, right?
I'm proud that I chose to continue acting. The late 1990s was a difficult time when the film industry was stagnant. G.Zolboot and I worked very hard to continue producing films and stayed in the film industry along with some of our fellow actors. It's true that film quality degraded, but everyone was trying to contribute in the industry and produce films even if it meant that we had to put our homes and property on the line for loans.
Haven't you written and directed several films?
The first film script I wrote and directed was "Tsusan Kholboo" (Blood Relations) inspired from "Tavilan" (Fate). The film featured children living in manholes – a very popular topic back then. The whole nation was concerned about their wellbeing and future.
The film "Blood Relations" was my way of expressing my distress and the thorn in my heart. So far, I've written and directed four films: "Blood Relations", "Mori Buusan Shagai" (Ankle-Bone Lands on the Horse Side), "Chi Itgekhgui l dee" (You Won't Believe It) and "Khairlakhsan"(Wanting to Love). I plan to do another film this year.
Tell us about Grand Film Production, which you founded?
I started Grand Film Production under Jiguur Grand Group, but then closed it down. Now, I work at Khangarid Studio, which I founded. The studio makes all types of audiovisual recording such as commercials, music videos and documentaries. Our most recent production is a short film titled "Jiguur".
What are your talents? Is it true that you're very talented in arts and crafts?
I used to fix and personalize my uniform all the time – even when I was in middle school. During the transition to free market economy, I used to sew and sell things.
I'm quite good at long song singing. I participated in many school talent shows. My father advised that I become a long song singer instead when I told him that I wanted to become an actor.
January 16 (gogo.mn) As of today, total of 27 thousand people from 122 countries are living in Mongolia with an official permission to reside. Of which 8707 are from China, 2568 are from South Korea and 3720 are from Russia, reports Mongolian Immigration Agency.
Moreover, Mongolian Immigration Agency is planning to grant visa and private invitation through online services from this year, enabling foreigners to submit their required documents for visa and invitation requests online, no need to send in any paper application.
In addition, the agency is planning to establish agreement on connecting Interpol information system with ISM system.
Mongolia has deported total of 1116 people over two years and imposed a penalty worth MNT 1 billion. Of which 800 of them from China while most of them have failed to leave the country on or before the expiry of the term of a visa.
E-Visa issue to be resolved this year – Montsame, January 16
January 14 (UB Post) Last month, Mongolia ranked seventh in the list of the top ten countries to travel in 2017 claimed by Lonely Planet, the largest travel guide book publisher in the world.
Terror attacks in top European and Asian tourist destinations such as France, Germany, Turkey, Thailand, and India in recent years are keeping tourists away.
The Telegraph published a story few days ago in which Mongolia was one of the 17 unusual destinations where terror threat is low.
When former President of the USA Bill Clinton was asked what his bucket list is, he said that he wanted to ride a horse across the Mongolian steppes, try to imagine what it was like to be in Chinggis Khaan's horde.
Profiting from tourism
State policy is very important in developing tourism. Creating the legal and regulatory environment to provide tourists safety, security, and comfortable condition; improve tourist infrastructure facilities; enhance capacity to receive tourists; improving tourism service quality; and carrying out a marketing campaign to attract tourists play a crucial role in the tourism industry's growth.
Mongolia's effort for developing tourism
The government of Mongolia issued a resolution offering visa facilities to tourist groups organized by travel agencies contracted by the government and ministries.
The Ministry of Environment and Tourism, World Tourism Organization, and World Cities Scientific Development Alliance jointly organized the International Silk Road Conference on Nomadic Tourism and Sustainable Cities in Ulaanbaatar in October last year to address the potential of nomadic and sustainable city tourism.
The government is planning to implement a 72-hour visa-free transit policy in Mongolia and to carry out fare reductions for passengers taking direct flight to Ulaanbaatar through MIAT from October 1 to May 1.
The government also plans establish a state-owned tourism development center that will help the ministry with tourism policy implementation, conduct studies and surveys to improve tourism operations, and implement tourism development projects and programs.
The state put forward many plans, programs, projects, and activities for tourism but most of them cannot put into action due to financial difficulties.
Why visit Mongolia?
In recent years, Mongolia's nomadic culture and lifelstyle; magnificent and untouched nature, Chinggis Khaan's equestrian statue in Tsonjin Boldog, Naadam festival, winter eagle festival, and cashmere products have been attracting tourists.
Minister of Environment and Tourism D.Oyunkhorol noted that there are over 600 tourism agencies and over 800 camps throughout Mongolia. She said that improving the overall quality of products and services within the tourism industry is of critical importance to improving tourism development. Minister D.Oyunkhorol stressed that the state has to mandate tourist camps and travel agencies to provide tourists with varied quality services that meet international standards.
Foreign Affairs Minister Ts.Munkh-Orgil pointed out that promoting Mongolia abroad is very important to develop tourism, but a very small state funding has been put aside for this. He said that a survey to prepare a smart marketing policy for promoting Mongolia abroad to attract foreign tourists has been conducted by studying practices of international marketing companies. He added that the survey's results will be presented to the government.
Friedhelm Adler, a German tourist, said last summer, "I have seen a lot of beautiful places such as sand dunes, oasis, and small canyons during my one-week tour in Mongolia's Gobi, and also visited a giant metal statue of Chinggis Khaan. I was very interested to see how Mongolian nomads live in their beautiful land with my own eyes, and I loved eating the Mongolian national food khorkhog, sheep or goat meat cooked with hot stones inside a milk churn, during my visit to a herder's family. This trip has been very exciting for me and I will never forget the friendly Mongolian people."
Developing free competition among tourist companies, improving standards for tourist camps, building tourist infrastructure, improving tourism education of herders, and tackling the problem of crimes against tourists such as pick pocketing and mugging are key areas for Mongolia's tourism policy.
If Mongolia adopts a smart tourism policy, there is an opportunity for Mongolia to become a central Asian tourist hub. At the very least, comprehensive tourism programs and projects that help encourage and motivate a large number of Chinese, Russian, South Korean, and Japanese tourists to visit Mongolia are crucial to benefit from the vast natural endowments present in the nation besides mineral resources.
January 15 (Vernon Morning Star) Grannies à Gogo is about to present their fascinating 2017 season of four all-new destinations, theirseventh season of these remarkable Travelogues. The first in the winter series focuses on Iran Jan 20.
The next looks at Chilé and Argentina Jan. 27. The third travelogue explores Mongolia Feb.3, androunding out the winter series we travel to Scotland Feb.10. All the PowerPoint presentations arescheduled for 10 a.m. at the People Place, downstairs in room 006.
The season's third travelogue takes us to "Mongolia: Land Without Fences" with Mary Stebbins andRichard Vest. Green hills and wide valleys that stretch to distant blue mountains are ribboned withwinding rivers and sand dunes – this was the Mongolia that Richard and Mary discovered. For sevenweeks they travelled from the busy sprawling capital of Ulaanbaatar to the vast, sparsely populatedcountryside, and found a land of boundless open space where a third of the population still live anomadic life. They were invited to participate in Buddhist ceremonies, camped beside rivers, andbounced along seemingly impassable roads in four-wheel drive vehicles. They visited nomadicfamilies, sleeping in gers (the nomads' traditional yurts), and trekked on foot and by horse. Thehorse is greatly revered in Mongolia, like a national symbol.
Here's my guide to the ultimate off-road vehicle in Mongolia - an ode to the fearless Furgon!
January 17 (Eternal Landscapes) Yes, an entire blog post devoted to the Russian 4x4 Furgon van. Why? Because I love them. And OK, Turuu has just taken first at the Mongolian UAZ Club competition so I'm like a proud mother hen!
Here he is, the man himself.
In fact, we love our Furgons at Eternal Landscapes enough that we even make birthday cakes in the same design.
The Furgon is also known as UAZ (УАЗ) - an initialism for 'Ulyanovsky Avtomobilny Zavod' which translates to "Ulyanovsk Automobile Plant" (based in Ulyanovsk, Russia, the UAZ factory started production in 1941 as part of the Soviet war effort).
No matter how you approach the subject, Mongolia is large with a (slowly) developing infrastructure. Out of a total of 50,000km of roads in Mongolia (give or take a few km) only about 10,000km (20%) are tarmac (asphalt) paved roads and they don't have a long lifespan. A majority connect the provincal capitals / centres to Ulaanbaatar - the capital city. Otherwise, apart from mining development, nearly all other roads are gravel and dirt roads.
I'll just give you a little time to consider that statistic.
I do understand. Your holiday time is precious and you're not particularly keen on the idea of spending most of it being bounced around in the back of a Russian tin-can. Fair enough.
But, in your drive for efficiency, you will be missing out - missing out on the ultimate road trip. The Furgon / UAZ has obtained huge popularity among off-road enthusiasts and rightly so.
The Furgon/UAZ is produced in several modifications, with the main difference being the body type - the exact configuration varies depending on the specific modification. The Furgon/UAZ has reached legendary status thanks to its reputation as a very reliable and capable 4x4 with impressive off-road capability.
And of course, you'll get to spend time with men with names such as Baatar and Bold. Yes, your Furgon driver will probably be the 'strong and silent' type. And no, they won't converse in a multitude of languages. But, boy will they understand the roads and their vehicles. They're some of the best mechanics I have ever encountered and their ingenuity in the face of adversity (lack of spare parts, no towing services) deserves huge levels of respect.
They're extremely proud of their country and great, all-round men.
I do appreciate that for the modern traveller domestic flights or an air-conditioned Landcruiser may be a preferrable alternative. But, I do believe you're missing out on a little slice of something uniquely Mongolia.
Travelling in the Furgon across the vastness gives you time to think. It's during the impromptu stops where you'll connect with the people in-between that make their lives in the middle landscapes. You'll realise the power of the landscapes and the skill of your driver and you'll carry something of the vastness of Mongolia away with you. In the words of Susan Fox - American artist and inveterate Mongolian traveller -
'One of the most rewarding parts of travel is finding out how many ways there are to address the everyday challenges of life which are perfectly valid, but really, really different from how one does things at home.'
If you're interested in Mongolia, then why not pop across to the Eternal Landscapes Mongolia website and see what we're offering for 2017. Alternatively, just email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) - I'm always happy to be of help and all advice is free with no sales pitch.
And, unless I have mentioned otherwise, all images used throughout this post were taken either by EL guests or members of the EL team. This is the Mongolia you will also experience if you chose to travel with us.
Wherever the road takes you in 2017 - Sain Yavaarai - Journey Well
January 16 (Travelers Today) Mongolia is a gem waiting to be uncovered. It is one of the least densely populated countries in the world and an enticing destination for travelers looking to experience different cultures. That said, here are the top 5 places you can visit in Mongolia.
The Gobi Desert
The Gobi desert has one of the most unusual desert landscapes in the world and is home to the singing dunes-Khongoryn Els. The last two-humped back camels in the world and the Gobi bears are found in the Gobi desert. The Gobi bears are the only bears that can be found residing in a desert landscape. Visitors can visit the picturesque sites like the Eagle Valley, Bayanzag, and the Khermen tsav in the Gobi desert. The first ever full dinosaur skeleton was discovered in Khermen tsav.
Khuvsgul lake, a.k.a. Dark Blue Pearl of Mongolia, is surrounded by the mountains of Koridol Saridag and Bayan Mountain Ranges. The lake is a sight to behold with all the greenery surrounding the lake. The pristine lake was formed almost 3 million years ago due to the tectonic plate movements.
Terelj National Park, Khustai National Park, Khorgo Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park
Terelj National Park is the largest protected area in Mongolia and is an ideal spot for adventure sports activities due to its natural beauty. Aside from the fantastic ecology, the Khustai National Park is home to Ongot's man monuments, temple ruins, and Hunnu's rectangular tombs. The Khorgo Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park accommodates the Terhiin Tsagaan lake surrounded by extinct volcanoes. The lake can be found at an altitude of 2060 meters and exotic birds reside near the lake.
The Tsagaan suwarga literally translates to White Stupa. The Tsagaan suwarga boasts of limestone bedrock formed in the ancient times. The desert floor transforms from white to yellow to pink before turning red.
Ulaanbataar is the capital city of Mongolia. The city perfectly blends Mongolia's ancient culture with modern day. The monasteries ruins mixes well with the skyscrapers. Visitors can shop at the Narantul Market, a.k.a. the Black Market, for traditional Mongolian clothing (and non-traditional clothing).
Now that you know more about this unique country, make sure you include Mongolia in your future travel plans. With the perfect fusion of modern and ancient structures, Mongolia is indeed a sight to behold. Did we miss something? Join the conversation by visiting our website!
By Casey-Ann Seaniger
January 12 (UB Post) Think there is nothing to do in winter? Think again. If you're living in Ulaanbaatar and can't bear the thought of being holed up at home or work for another day, fear not – The UB Post has a list of 10 cool things to do in Mongolia this winter.
While traveling in Mongolia during winter may seem like a ludicrous idea, an increasing number of expats, locals and tourists are bucking the trend and heading to the countryside for a winter break.
Winter tourism is growing every year and local tourism operators are seeing an uptake in winter travel.
"There's a huge potential in terms of activities because there are many expats, visitors from embassies and organizations who want to get out of smoky Ulaanbaatar and go on a trip,'' Expat Mongolia owner Bold Purevdelger said.
Expat Mongolia is one of a number of tourism operators that runs winter tourism activities. One of the most popular activities is dog sledding but Bold also runs paragliding, ice skating and guided visits to winter festivals including the Ice Festival in Lake Khuvsgul and the camel festival in the Gobi desert in March.
Even though many ger camps and tourist attractions shut down over winter, a number of accommodation spots remain open and rooms start at low as six USD per night with some hotels even slashing up to 50 percent off the usual price.
Remarkably, the drives are not much longer than trips in summer, and tracks to many destinations are still accessible even while covered in snow. However, flights to many destinations are not available.
"There's a bit of a misconception that people can't travel in winter in Mongolia due to the cold but that's changing,'' he said. "There also needs to be more flights available and preparation from the Mongolian Tourism Board to make it happen," he added.
Tim Spring, an expat from Australia who works in Ulaanbaatar, recently spent a week with friends at Khuvsgul Lake over the New Year's and said it was a wonderful experience. "I think more people should support winter tourism," he said. "It felt like the whole town was out to help us enjoy it and not just for the money, they really enjoyed having us there."
For those thinking of taking a trip to the countryside, the most important tip is to take the plunge and do it! And of course, if you rug up well with plenty of warm clothes, you won't feel the cold too much. Mongolia is beautiful in winter – you won't regret it.
1. Dog sledding
Sledding with dogs through forests and over frozen rivers at 50 km an hour is an exhilarating experience. Initially, it feels out of control as the sled skids to the command of a pack of trotting paws, but it is safe and sturdy. The dog-sled base in Terelj National Park is run by local Mongolians who train the dogs all year round. Expat Mongolia runs dog sledding trips in Terelj every weekend during winter. A day trip includes dog sledding, campfire lunch, horse riding, a hike, a visit to the nearby monastery and some exciting bum-luging down a giant hill (yes, you read that right!). The huskies are treated well and are gentle enough to pose with you for some photos afterward! Speeding through the snowy landscape driving your own team of eager huskies is a memorable experience you won't forget anytime soon.
2. Frozen waterfall in the Orkhon Valley
During summer tourists flock to the Orkhon Khurkee waterfall in the Orkhon Valley, but many might not realize how beautiful the waterfall is in winter! The waterfall freezes and the sky-blue and turquoise colors set against the gorge is a stunning sight. The bumpy four-hour drive from Kharkorin is a little long but if you're willing to bear it, you're in for a unique experience with a guarantee of no other tourist in sight. Most ger camps in this region are closed over winter but Family Guesthouse in Kharkorin will put you up and can also organize a driver to the waterfall and lunch at a nearby family's ger. The hot springs on the way to Tariat are closed during winter.
3. Skiing and snowboarding
One of the most popular winter activities for Mongolians, expats and visitors alike are winter sports. Sky Resort is great for skiing, snowboarding and luging. The best thing is it's only a 25-minute drive from Ulaanbaatar but far away to be in the fresh air with no stinking pollution in your face! Sky Resort is good for beginners right through to the experienced skiers and snowboarders. For those more die-hard adventure seekers, Sanzai is a top-notch location. The cool guys from the Mongolia Extreme or Die Facebook page often visit Sanzai. It's a one-hour drive from Ulaanbaatar to the top of a small mountain, which usually has a foot and a half of fresh powder. Worth visiting!
Monasteries stay open during winter and provide visitors with a genuine insight into Mongolian Buddhists' way of life. Erdene Zuu Monastery in Kharkorin is one of the most beautiful monasteries in the country. Founded in 1586, it was the first monastery in Mongolia and set in a picturesque location surrounded by hills. During winter there are no tourists and it's a perfect time to stroll around the serene grounds. Amarbayasgalant Monastery is also open during winter although nearby accommodation is a little trickier to organize.
5. Horse riding
Just as it is in summer, horse riding is Mongolia's most iconic activity. Most ger camps can organize horse riding even if you're only an hour from Ulaanbaatar or in the wilderness of northern Mongolia. It's also a better time for beginners to try it out as the soft snow makes the horses go slow and steady. Horse-sledding on frozen lakes and rivers is also popular during winter.
6. Khuvsgul Lake
The stunning Lake Khuvsgul is one of the best longer trips to do in winter. More and more visitors are taking advantage of the unique experience of being at the lake when it's frozen over. Activities include horse riding, sleigh riding across the ice, snowboarding and sledding, hiking, polar bear challenge (skinny dipping for those brave enough), walking on water, building ice statues, casual ice hockey, ice sumo and going on driving tours across the lake. MS Guesthouse in Khatgal is the only ger camp open during winter. Khuvsgul Lake is also home to the ice festival held in March every year.
Terelj remains one of the best places to escape the city and enjoy time in the countryside. Saraa's ger camp in Terelj is an affordable spot with a frozen river at its doorstep. It is one of the few ger camps in Terelj that remains open during winter. Visitors can stay warm in the ger and go out on horse rides and hikes during the middle of the day.
8. Tariat and the frozen Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake
If you're in for a rough-and-ready trip to the countryside, a visit to the frozen Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake outside of Tariat in central Mongolia is possible. From Tariat, the 20-minute drive to the lake will leave you breathless (and pretty chilly). Underneath your feet, you can see air bubbles, flowers, and vines trapped underneath the surface of the lake, which is covered in cascading colors of turquoise and sea-green. The deep ice blocks running meters below your feet will have you in awe of the absolute beauty of the elements of the earth. Going for sunset at the nearby volcano is also a wonderful experience.
9. Weekend getaway to Shatan
The small town of Shatan is an easy place to escape to from Ulaanbaatar. Located about three hours by train toward Darkhan, the train ride is relaxing and comfortable. Shatan itself is a sleepy little town set in a narrow valley surrounded by hills. Ulaanbaatar expat Katie Scar heads there with her partner regularly. "We stay in a railway worker's cottage that's warm and cozy. It's a nice spot to sit and read books and cook up a pot of mulled wine," Katie said. "We usually go for a hike through the town and along the valley. After two hours, the toes get pretty cold though so it's nice to head back to the warmth of the cottage. It would be a great spot for cross-country skiers too."
10. City life: ballet, opera, spas and saunas
Spas and saunas are especially popular in winter as people try to escape the outdoor chills. The Japanese spa at Sky Resort is popular for a day of indulging yourself in fresh, soothing water bubbling straight from underground Bogd Khan Mountain. Ballet, opera, concert and comedy nights are also held at various locations.
January 11 (Indy Guide) The climate in Winter in Mongolia is quite cold. The monthly temperatures in January are between 15°C in the South and -35°C in the North. But it can also get colder. Most of the country is covered by permafrost and all rivers and lakes are frozen. This makes Winter not the primary time to go travelling in Mongolia. But if you love snow and the cold then this winter wonderland has some exiting things to offer. Here are some suggestions.
Visit the Ice Festival
In the North of Mongolia lies beautiful Khuvsgul Lake. On of the highlights in this area in the wintertime is the Ice Festival. This festival is enjoyed both by tourist and locals the same. The program is versatile: there is an international skating marathon, a horse sleigh races, displays of ice sculptures, shaman ceremonies and you might even see the reindeer herds coming down from the northern Taiga.
Visit the Camel Festival
This festival celebrates the qualities of the bactrian camel. It is also called the "Thousand Camel Festival" and is held in the area of the Gobi Desert. The highlights of the festival include traditional music and dance performances and of course camel races.
Explore the Terelj National Park
If you are interested in the nature then the this national park is a good option to visit in Winter. You can visit the glacial Khagiin Khar Lake, the Yestii Hot Water Springs and the Buddhist monastery which ist open to visitors. You might also see some wildlife including brown bears and over 250 species of birds.
Climb the Genghis Khan Statue Complex
Mongolia are proud of their famous conquerer Genhis Khan. They even build a 40 meter tall statue of him on horseback. It is truly a impressive and worth a visit. It lies an the Tuul River at Tsonjin Boldog east of the capital Ulaanbaatar. According to the legend, this was the place where he found a famous golden whip. At the top of the complex there is a visitor center and a little restaurant.
Searching for the snow leopard
The snow leopard is a large and beautiful cat native in Central Asia. There are only around 6500 animals left in the wild. It inhabits alpine zones up to 5000 meters. Mongolia is one of the few places where this magnificent animal can still be found. Especially in the Gobi Altai High Mountain area. Winter is a good time to spot the animal because they come down from the mountain to search for prey. It is possible to go on expedition to look for this creature but it is not easy to spot.
Enjoy a dog sledding trip
Another way to enjoy the beautiful landscape is to go on a dog sledding trip. Dog sledding is not a traditional way of transport in this area but was recently introduced to Mongolia. Nowadays you can go on trips all over Mongolia including Khuvsgul Lake, Terelj, Khentii National Park or Bogd Khaan National Park.
Visit eagle hunters in Western Mongolia
In the Western part of Mongolia live mostly Kazakh people. In their culture the hunting with golden eagles, which is a form of falconry, is still in practise. There are about 250 eagle hunter in Western Mongolia around Bayan-Ölgii. Winter is the primary hunting season, which starts off with the famous golden eagle festivals in September and October. It is possible to visit eagle hunters and their families and enjoy this UNESCO-listed tradition first hand. It is even possible to be part of a hunt or hold the eagle by yourself.
January 16 (A Road to Travel) We started with a full-day trip out to the Baga Gazriin Chuluu Ruins. A picturesque Mountain, Baga Gazriin Chuluu is one of the most attractive areas of Mongolia. With an elevation of 1,768 meters, it is located in the granite belt. The ruins of a small monastery are on the south east part of the mountain. The area has many species of wild animals and birds, such as ibex, argali, vultures, hawks and eagles. At the ruins, there are some mineral water springs and trees atop the many beautiful rocky hills. On the way we stopped for a lunch at Zorgol Khairkhan Mountain, and continued to drive to the first campsite of our trip. Once we got there, we had free time to wander around the mountains and do some hiking.
Since this is our first Photologue about Mongolia I will have to give you a little background information about travel here.
1. You travel in Russian Jeeps that are carefully tended relics from the 1970's.
2. You will be lucky to have a hot shower once every 2 to 4 days.
3. You will spend all of your nights in round tent-like structures called Gers or Yurts
4. Beds will consist of a board with a small 1 to 2 inch pad.
5. All food will be traditional Mongolian food prepared by your tour guide.
6. You will have Zip! Nada! Zilch! in the way of internet.
7. There are few roads and, for the most part, you will be flying across dirt ruts that only your driver will understand.
8. No roads mean many bumps, so prepare yourself for a very rough ride the entire trip.
9. This will be a difficult trip, BUT, one that you will treasure for a lifetime.
There are hundreds of tour sites and people offering tours of different lengths and destinations in Mongolia. For the most part the tour company personnel have little to nothing to do with your actual tour. Once you pay them they will turn you over to a local Mongolian driver and tour guide. The guides and drivers will be your lifeline for the entire time you are in Mongolia. The people booking the tour keep the majority of the money and the rest is given to the two guides. They are on a strict schedule trying to cram too many kilometers and too few stops into each day's journey. The better way to handle this is to contract the driver and van independently of the tour company. That way you can work with the guides/drivers as the days go by to determine what you will see and where you will go. Set your own schedule in Mongolia and you will have a far better adventure. We were lucky we had a great driver named Baisa and our tour guide was a Professor from the University of Mongolia named Ayuna. We can put you in touch with them directly if you email us. You will be able to see twice as much for half the price. Another plus is that your accommodations will be better since the guides have a much larger budget to use on the trip.
Little Rock in Mongolia
The first full day included a trip out to the Baga Gazriin Chuluu Ruins. Also known as 'Little Rock' in Mongolia, it is one of the more beautiful areas that began our adventure. Called Little Rock because of the 1000's of small piles of stones located on every large rock in the valley. These are called 'ovoos' and are believed to be the homes of master spirits of a certain area. While Buddhism and Christianity are both practiced throughout Mongolia, many people still respect the ancient Shamanism ways of the past.
Baga Gazriin Chuluu is approximately 1,768 meters in altitude and is part of a large granite belt that carves its way across this part of Mongolia. There are many wildlife species including Ibex but the most prevalent are hawks, vultures, eagles and the small rodents they feast on. There are mineral springs on the hills that we will visit and some have certain healing properties or so the locals believe.
Located here are the ruins of a small temple that is believed to be the place where the Dalai Lama was educated as a child. A brief note on the monasteries in Mongolia: Almost all were destroyed during the Russian war. The monks were relocated to work areas in Russia and only a few monasteries have been rebuilt. Some of the larger ones in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar survived, but few of the rural ones were lucky.
After leaving the monastery ruins we began the rest of our days journey to Zorgol Khairkhan Mountain. This is a large red mountain and we will have traveled about 150 KM from Ulaanbaatar. The peak is 1,678 meters high and the mountain is a beautiful red color. There are caves and springs here as well. We found our first home-stay in the valley below the peak. It is full of wild horses who make their way up and down through the valley. We also get to have our first horse poop campfire and spent the night under the stars of Mongolia. You will realize the first day just how far you are from what you believe to be civilization. You are without doctors, internet, food sources or electricity. You are totally dependent on your driver and tour guide from this point on.
Tomorrow we will continue our trip to the White Stupas known as Tsagaan Suvarga.
Mogi: feel bad for the couple, but if everyone starts suing for the "most common cause" of food poisoning, then …
A Kenilworth man who suffered severe food poisoning while on a trip of a lifetime in Asia is now suing the travel company for damages.
January 17 (Leamington Courier) Raymond Evans, 64, is launching legal action against GR Travel Group Ltd, trading as GoRussia, after holidaying with his wife Susan on the Trans Siberian Railway travelling through Russia and Asia last September.
The couple fell ill while staying in the Gorkhi-Terelj National Park in Mongolia on the 11th day of their trip.
Raymond was rushed to hospital as soon as they touched down back home at Heathrow on September 19, where he was diagnosed with suspected Campylobacter. It may have also affected his kidney function.
The couple believe poorly cooked chicken caused their illness, as many others on the trip also complained of food poisoning after their stay in the national park.
Raymond said: "It was hideous. We were so unwell and all we wanted to do was curl up and try to sleep it off, but that simply wasn't an option.
"The journey back to the UK was miserable and I was so weak and disoriented when we landed that I couldn't even walk properly. When the doctors told me my kidneys weren't working it was terrifying.
"Now I am just angry that there weren't better hygiene standards in place to keep us safe. It was a terrible and pretty undignified end to an otherwise wonderful trip."
Raymond was treated with antibiotics and fluids and kept under observation at St Peter's Hospital in Chertsey for two days before being discharged.
A month later, tests showed his kidneys had returned to normal but it is not clear if there is any lasting damage. Raymond is a keen long distance cyclist and was unable to pursue his hobby for some time.
Both Raymond and Susan are still suffering from ill health more than a month on from their holiday.
Jennifer Downing, a personal injury lawyer at solicitors Irwin Mitchell, representing Raymond and Susan said: "For Raymond to be told his kidneys were not functioning properly demonstrates the severity of this type of illness and he still has some time to go before he will know the full extent of any long term effects.
"Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning and from our work we understand just how serious it can be and the life-changing impact these kinds of illnesses can have on those unfortunate enough to develop them.
"We are now carrying out our investigations to determine how Raymond and Susan managed to contract the suspected campylobacter while on holiday and we would urge anyone else who suffered similar illness issues while staying at the campsite at Gorkhi-Terelj National Park to contact us as they may be able to help with our enquiries."
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