Friday, October 28, 2016

[Court grants MMC extension; MNT sets 9th straight low; SGK discussing SME tax cuts; and Mongolia marks 55 years in UN]

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Friday, October 28, 2016

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Jump to: Int'l Market - Local Market - Economy - Politics, Legal - Business - Ulaanbaatar - Diplomacy - Health, Education - Culture, Society - Nature, Environment - Sports - Art, Entertainment - Travel

Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original



Int'l Market

-       MMC: Cayman Court Grants Petition Adjourned to 18 November

-       Petro Matad Has 3 Big Value Changing Catalysts

-       Turquoise Hill to announce third quarter financial results on November 3, 2016

Local Market

-       MSE Trading Report: Top 20 -1.42%, ALL -1.07%, Turnover 13.1 Million Shares

-       Gazar Suljmel JSC Changes Name to Juulchin Duty Free JSC


-       MNT sets new lows vs USD, EUR, CNY, SGD, HKD, CHF; USD/MNT up ₮14.24 Thursday to ₮2,363.10

-       BoM declines US$52.1m USD bids, sells CNY83.5m at ₮344.53, declines $16m MNT swap offers

-       METALS-Copper hits two-week high on Chinese demand hopes

-       Bailing out Mongolia: A wrong direction in the steppe

Politics & Legal

-       Zorig assassination: Family says their children were framed

-       Mongolian Parliament to Consider New Anti-Corruption Program


-       Mongolia drops two spots to 64 in 2017 Doing Business Report

-       Parliament discussing tax discount for small companies

-       Mongolia joins Int'l Women's Federation of Commerce and Industry

-       Improving standards: Germany to implement major project

-       Bank of Mongolia and World Bank drafting bill on National Payment System


-       Ready for Halloween weekend?


-       Today marks 55th anniversary of Mongolia's accession to the UN

-       Colombian ambassador to Mongolia working to boost cultural ties

-       Investors seek stability says Deputy Foreign Minister

Health, Education

-       Japan and Monaco Help Mongolia's Cancer Patients Receive Access to Upgraded Services

-       SAP: Design Thinking for Students from National University of Mongolia Public Administration

Culture, Society

-       Italian Photographer Lives With Nomadic Families In Central Mongolia To See Life Through Their Eyes

-       A 'deel' for a giant

Nature, Environment

-       ACMS Speaker Series – Dr. Cristina Bertrand: Learning from Nature


-       Trial online fishing licensing system launches

Art, Entertainment

-       Philadelphia Orchestra to stage concert in Ulaanbaatar in 2017

-       Script of Eternal Sky calligraphic exhibitions opening

-       Post Masquerade Party (in aid of Project Mongolia): Edinburgh, UK, November 30


-       Mongolia is a destination you cannot afford to miss

-       Drinking horse milk: The things you have to do to please your travel hosts

-       Trans Mongolian Railway: Irkutsk – Ulaanbaatar

-       From Central Mongolia to Gobi Desert (with video)



Int'l Market

975 trading +11.1% today at HK$0.30 on the announcement

MMC: Cayman Court Grants Petition Adjourned to 18 November

October 28 -- This announcement is made by Mongolian Mining Corporation (In Provisional Liquidation) (the "Company") pursuant to Rule 13.09(2) of the Rules Governing the Listing of Securities on The Stock Exchange of Hong Long Limited and the Inside Information Provisions under Part XIVA of the Securities and Futures Ordinance (Cap. 571 of the Laws of Hong Kong). The Company and its subsidiaries are collectively referred to as the "Group".

Reference is made to the announcement of the Company dated 21 July 2016 in relation to the appointment by the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands (the "Cayman Court") of Mr. Simon Conway of PwC Corporate Finance Recovery (Cayman) Limited and Mr. Christopher So Man Chun of PricewaterhouseCoopers Ltd. as joint provisional liquidators (the "JPLs") of the Company on a soft touch basis to assist the Company and its existing board of directors (the "Board") with the implementation of the proposed debt restructuring on an expedited basis (the "Debt Restructuring"). In order for the JPLs to have been appointed by the Cayman Court, a petition for the winding up of the Company (the "Petition") was required to be filed with the Cayman Court as a necessary pre-cursor to facilitate its application seeking the appointment of the JPLs. As at the date of this Announcement, no winding up order has been made against the Company.

The Company is continuing to progress negotiations with its creditors in relation to the Debt Restructuring and since the JPLs have been appointed, the Company has been protected by a statutory moratorium from any proceedings being commenced in the Cayman Islands or continued against it without the leave of the Cayman Court, leaving the Company, the Board and the JPLs free to engage in concluding a collective restructuring plan in the best interests of all of the Company's creditors, and ensure the Company and the Group's ability to continue thereafter as a going concern.

Reference is also made to the announcement of the Company dated 2 September 2016 in which the Company announced that following a hearing of the Petition before the Cayman Court on 1 September 2016, it was ordered that (i) the JPLs report to the Cayman Court on the conduct of the provisional liquidation of the Company by no later than 20 October 2016; and (ii) the Petition be adjourned, and the provisional liquidation of the Company continue, until 27 October 2016.

On 19 October 2016, the JPLs duly prepared and filed with the Cayman Court their second report on the conduct of the provisional liquidation of the Company.

On 27 October 2016, the Petition was heard before the Cayman Court. The Company is pleased to announce that the Cayman Court has ordered that the Petition be further adjourned, and the provisional liquidation of the Company continue, until 18 November 2016, as sought by the Company and supported by the JPLs.

The Company will publish further announcements to update the shareholders and potential investors on progress of the debt restructuring as and when necessary

Link to release

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MATD closed +3.4% Thursday to 3.03p, +52.8% in last 3 months

Petro Matad Has 3 Big Value Changing Catalysts

By Robert Whelan, Long/short equity, research analyst, oil & gas, industrials


·         Petro Matad explores for oil in Mongolia.

·         Petro Matad will announce a further $5 million from Shell imminently.

·         Upcoming seismic results will provide a means to Risk-Value Petro Matad.

·         Two high impact oil drills by next July will provide a binary step change in valuation.

(Editor's note: There is much greater liquidity on the LSE under the ticker MATD).

October 27 (Seeking Alpha) Petro Matad (OTCPK:PRTDF: OTCPK) (MATD.L: London) is a British - Mongolian micro-cap onshore oil exploration company with exploration blocks IV, V and XX in Mongolia. It is a micro-cap company and you can find my introductory general article on it here.


Before I explain the upcoming catalysts, I will first give you the background once again and bridge the gap between my first article on August 25th, and today. Petro Matad had none other than giant oil explorer BG Group as 78% partner on its acreage in Mongolia since April 2015, when 6 months into the oil price slump, BG farmed into the license alongside Petro Matad to drill 2 wells by July 31st 2017. Shell bought out BG however, and pulled out of Mongolia, the Mongolian exit being purely collateral damage in Shell's multi-billion dollar divestment programme worldwide.

Catalyst 1 : 100% reassignment of licenses back to Petro Matad

- Estimated to be Imminent

In order to exit, Shell paid Petro Matad $10 million in August and owes Petro Matad another $5 million on completion of the Government re-assignment of 100% of the licenses back to Petro Matad. Amazingly Petro Matad's total Market Cap of $10 million is fully accounted for by the $10 million already received from Shell, with $5 million arriving any day now.

Previous license farm out approvals have taken about 2 months and its approaching 11 weeks since the deal with Shell was penned so any day now Petro Matad will receive the extra $5 million. The below graphic shows that on reassignment, Petro Matad will have then received the full $15 million from Shell, which represents 4.3pence per share (5.3 cents) and means the current share price stands at a 31% discount to cash!

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TRQ closed +0.66% Thursday to US$3.07

Turquoise Hill to announce third quarter financial results on November 3, 2016

VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwired - October 27, 2016) - Turquoise Hill Resources will announce its third quarter financial results on Thursday, November 3, 2016 after markets close in North America.

The Company will host a conference call and webcast to discuss third quarter results on Friday, November 4, 2016 at 11:00 am EDT / 8:00 am PDT. The conference call can be accessed through the following dial-in details:

North America: 416 340 8018 | 866 225 9256

International: +1 416 340 8018

The conference call will also be simultaneously webcast on Turquoise Hill's website at An archived playback of the call will be available on the Company's website.

Link to release

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Local Market

MSE Trading Report: Top 20 -1.42%, ALL -1.07%, Turnover 13.1 Million Shares

October 27 (MSE) --

Link to report

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Gazar Suljmel JSC Changes Name to Juulchin Duty Free JSC

October 27 (MSE) Based on the Resolution No.:06/07 of shareholders meeting of "Gazar Suljmel" JSC dated on 14 September 2016, the official request No.:03/40 of "Gazar Suljmel" JSC dated on 07 October 2016 and the Clause No.: 8.10.11 of charter of Mongolian Stock Exchange, name of "Gazar Suljmel" JSC changed to "Juulchin Duty Free" JSC on MSE's listing.

Link to release

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

BoM MNT Rates: Thursday, October 27 Close










































































































































































Bank USD rates at time of sending: Khan (Buy ₮2,362 Sell ₮2,372), TDB (Buy ₮2,355 Sell ₮2,370), Golomt (Buy ₮2,360 Sell ₮2,372), XacBank (Buy ₮2,365 Sell ₮2,380), State Bank (Buy ₮2,356 Sell ₮2,371)

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

Link to rates

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BoM declines US$52.1m USD bids, sells CNY83.5m at ₮344.53, declines $16m MNT swap offers

October 27 (Bank of Mongolia) Spot trade: Commercial banks bid MNT 2356.00-2372.30 for USD52.1 million and MNT 344.53-348.61 for CNY83.5 million respectively. The BoM sold CNY83.5 million with closing rate of MNT 344.53.

Swap and forward trade: The BoM received bid offers of USD16.0 million of MNT swap agreements from commercial banks and the BoM did not accept any bid offers.

Link to release

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METALS-Copper hits two-week high on Chinese demand hopes

* China's copper imports expected to rise over coming months

* But local refiners expected to import more concentrate

* LME copper stocks down more than 12 pct since late Sept

* LME lead touches highest since Oct. 11 (Adds closing prices)

LONDON, Oct 27 (Reuters) Copper hit a two-week high on Thursday as the market focused on the likelihood of stronger demand in China, but gains were limited by reduced speculative activity after a spike earlier this week.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange ended up 1.1 percent at $4,790 a tonne from an earlier $4,797, its lowest since October 13. Prices are up more than 3 percent so far this week.

Traders said copper's gains this week had been partly due to Chinese speculative activity, which had receded after China's Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange doubled the charges for intraday trading in thermal coal.

China accounts for nearly half of global copper demand estimated at around 22 million tonnes this year. Chinese consumers are expected to import more over coming months due to stronger local demand.

"Most people are expecting Chinese copper imports to rebound from the lows we saw in August and September. The domestic copper market is tighter," said Citi analyst David Wilson. "But copper prices over the next three to six months will stay in a $4,600 to $5,000 range."

China's refined copper imports have fallen over the past three months, slumping 31 percent in September from a year earlier, partly as China has produced more metal after a surge in concentrate supply from Peruvian mines this year.

"Steady demand has contributed to a decline of reported and unreported inventories in China," Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst Michael Widmer said in a note.

"We see scope for a pick-up of refined imports, which had been at multi-year lows during summer. Having said that, higher domestic refined output, helped by concentrates imports, will in all likelihood subdue refined shipments to China."

Also a plus for copper are stocks in LME-approved warehouses, which at 331,450 have fallen more than 12 percent since late September. MCUSTX-TOTAL

Zinc ended up one percent at $2,363 while tin fell 0.2 percent to $20,380.

Aluminium rose 1.2 percent at $1,699, lead slipped 0.1 percent to $2,046 and nickel gained one percent to $10,360 a tonne.

Link to article


Dr Copper's ability to take China's temperature is limited Financial Times, October 27

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Bailing out Mongolia: A wrong direction in the steppe

The government turns to the IMF for the second time in seven years

October 29 (The Economist) "THINGS really get messy when politicians see money," mused Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, Mongolia's president, earlier this month. He was discussing his country's request for an emergency loan from the IMF to help ward off a balance-of-payments crisis. The messiness might be avoided, Mr Elbegdorj added, if the IMF forced Mongolia to observe a little more budgetary discipline than it is used to.

Although sparsely populated and vastly endowed with mineral wealth, Mongolia has yet to set its economy on a stable footing. Squabbling and delays over big foreign investments in mining projects, along with low global commodity prices, have stemmed inflows of foreign currency, prompting the local currency, the togrog, to wilt. It has declined 17% against the dollar since late June. The government's lavish spending in expectation of big mining revenues, meanwhile, has boosted its debt to almost 80% of GDP, much of it denominated in dollars. The togrog's slide has prompted fears that the government will struggle to service its foreign debt.

When the IMF last came to Mongolia's rescue, in 2009, it seemed to be providing just the leg-up the country needed. Mongolian politicians and IMF officials took to a hotel ballroom in Ulaanbaatar in 2010 to celebrate the successful conclusion of a $242m bail-out. Champagne and optimism flowed freely. Mongolia's "determined policy implementation", the IMF said, had fostered "a remarkable economic turnaround". Foreign reserves were up; the budget deficit and inflation were down. Arrears on foreign debts had been paid, and confidence in the currency restored.

For the next three years Mongolia enjoyed double-digit growth. But the good times did not last. Growth dipped below 8% in 2014 and was just 2.3% last year (see chart). To succour the togrog and sap inflation, the central bank raised interest rates in August by 4.5 percentage points, to 15%, further slowing the economy. The budget deficit has swelled to around 20% of GDP.

In a parliamentary election in June, the Mongolian People's Party (MPP) triumphed over the Democratic Party (DP), which Mr Elbegdorj leads. The change in government provided a convenient opportunity for Mongolia to turn to the IMF again, says Julian Dierkes of the University of British Columbia. It will be easier for the new government to accept conditions imposed by the IMF early in its term, he says, when it can still blame the previous one for all the country's problems.

It remains unclear just how severe the IMF might be. If its proposed terms seem too onerous, Mongolia could always turn to China, which has extended it some credit in recent years and seems prepared to offer more. Many Mongolians fret, however, over the political and commercial leverage this would give their giant neighbour. Either way, Mongolia will find itself beholden to China. In spite of all the upheaval, the share of Mongolia's exports going to China has hovered steadily between 80% and 90% over the past six years.

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Politics & Legal

Zorig assassination: Family says their children were framed

October 27 ( B.Sodnomdarjaa and T.Chimgee, both suspected of killing the renowned politician and democratic revolutionary S.Zorig, have been in detention since 2015. Earlier today (27th of October), the mother of B.Sodnomdarjaa and T.Chimgee's siblings called a conference at the 'Zuunii Medee' press center about the Zorig assassination. The family of the suspects said that Mongolian law enforcement agencies are trying to frame them instead of exposing the truth about Zorig's assassination.

L.Javjmaa, the mother of B.Sodnomdarjaa, said her son was at home and working with his father on their farm when Zorig was killed on 2nd of October 1998.

T.Khurelbat, the brother of T.Chimgee said law enforcers arrested her when she was working in Erdenet. T.Chimgee has three children and they were young in 1998, said her brother. According to him, T.Chimgee was framed by Amgalanbaatar, who had been jailed for homicide. Amgalanbaatar is the adopted son of the parents of T.Chimgee's husband. He used to live close to B.Sodnomdarjaa's family.

B. Bulgan, the widow of the assassinated politician, was released from jail due to health issues in September. She had been in solitary confinement for 10 months without being charged. According to unofficial sources, D.Bulgan was being investigated for concealing information about S.Zorig's murder and giving false statements about her husband's death in court 17 years ago.

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Mongolian Parliament to Consider New Anti-Corruption Program

October 27 (Lehman Law) As we posted previously, the Anti-Corruption law of Mongolia was enacted firstly in 1996 and it was renewed by the Parliament in 2006. Furthermore, Mongolia became a Party to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) in 2006.

According to the legislation, the Independent Authority Against Corruption was established in 2007 in charged with functions to raise anti-corruption public awareness and education, and corruption prevention activities, and to carry out under-cover operations, inquiries and investigations in detecting corruption crimes, and to review and inspect the assets and income declarations.

The National Program on Combating Corruption was approved by the Parliament of Mongolia in 2002. This program was implemented between 2002-2010. In recent years, a new National Program for Combating Corruption and Strengthening Integrity was drafted and submitted to the previous parliament. Unfortunately, Parliament at the time rejected the new program without discussion.

The current Parliament recently created a taskforce to prepare a draft program for discussion in the Parliament. The taskforce is led by the Chair of the Legal Standing Committee Sh. Radnaased. During the Parliament Legal Standing Committee meeting, a draft resolution on the National Program on Combating Corruption and Strengthening Integrity will be discussed. We expect the program to be presented and discussed at the Parliament plenary session in the near future.

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Mongolia drops two spots to 64 in 2017 Doing Business Report

October 27 ( World Bank-International Finance Corp (WB-IFC) released the latest edition of its 2017 Doing Business Report.

Mongolia ranked 64th in Doing Business Report 2017 and last year our country was ranked 62nd. This year Mongolia fell back by two places while placed 6th in East Asia-Pacific Region. New Zealand ranks number one in the world on the World Bank Group's annual ease of doing business measurement out of 190 countries.

The country scored significant gains in one of 10 indicators used by the WB-IFC and the indicator included Paying taxes where the country's ranking rose 38 notches to 35th place from last year's 73th. 

Slight declines were registered in several indicators namely Start a business, Protecting Minority Investors and Resolving Insolvency, where the country reported a four-place declines. 

Click HERE for more detailed rankings of Mongolia.

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Parliament discussing tax discount for small companies

Ulaanbaatar, October 27 (MONTSAME) The Parliament is running the first reading of the draft amendments to the Law on Income Tax on Entities on October 27. The amendments suggest reducing the tax rate for companies with annual sales income of less than MNT 1.5 billion, by 90 percent.

Thereby, this applies to the companies engaged in food, clothing, textile and construction materials productions, land-farming and animal husbandry. When adopted, the amendments will enable these companies to enjoy the tax discount between 1 January 2017 and 1 January 2021.

The conclusion by the corresponding standing committee was introduced by Ts.Davaasuren MP.

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Mongolia joins Int'l Women's Federation of Commerce and Industry

October 27 ( Mongolia has joined the International Women's Federation of Commerce and Industry (IWFCI), a unique organization formed in 1992 in Melbourne, Australia. During the annual meeting, Mongolia was granted its membership and O.Baigal was selected as a head of the IWFCI in Mongolia. A violinist by profession, O.Baigal is director of the 'Young Leadership Skills' non-profit organization of Mongolia.

The organization was formed to meet the emerging needs of women in business and in recognition of their increasing contribution to the world of commerce, the community and to government.

IWFCI has 5 million members across all five continents.

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Improving standards: Germany to implement major project

October 27 ( The German Federal Institute of Physics and Technology is to implement a EUR 600 thousand project in Mongolia. Designed to improve quality in energy sector in Mongolia, the project will be implemented to meet the high regulatory standards of the European Union.

With the assistance of EU technical support projects, the Mongolian Agency for Standardization and Metrology has adopted the 'National Standard Programme for 2016-2020'.

Mongolian Deputy Prime Minister U.Khurelsukh discussed the project with a delegation from the German Federal Institute of Physics and Technology earlier today (27th of October) at Government House.

Link to article


German Physics and Technology Institute carrying out standardization projectMontsame, October 27

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Bank of Mongolia and World Bank drafting bill on National Payment System

Ulaanbaatar, October 27 (MONTSAME) Member of the State Great Khural B.Undarmaa received delegates from the Bank of Mongolia and the World Bank representatives led by the Country Manager James Anderson on Wednesday. The latter talked about a bill on National Payment System, to be submitted to the Parliament next year.

The short introduction to the proposed bill was presented by the central bank officials. When adopted, the law will require making amendments to several other laws. This will allow building an integrated system throughout the country and will benefit to the banking and finance organizations.

The World Bank is rendering technical assistance in preparing of the bill, said Mr James Anderson and added the cooperation will continue until 2020.

B.Undarmaa MP extended a gratitude to the World Bank for the technical assistance and noted the bill should aim at achieving stable economic growth.

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Ready for Halloween weekend?

October 27 ( Recent years has seen the rise of the new culture around the Halloween celebrations in Mongolia and specifically in UB city. Major night clubs and restaurants organize special events dedicated for Halloween to lure the clubers who are keen to have fun and dress for the occasion. The fever has expanded even to students of secondary schools and colleges, organizing Halloween events at schools and nominations for best costumes. 

This year, following events are expected in Ulaanbaatar starting Oct 28. Hope you will find the perfect event and spend the Halloween in fun way with your friends and colleagues in our capital city. Of course, all events require dress code and special make-up, while most events are announced to have make-up artists to help at their events.

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Today marks 55th anniversary of Mongolia's accession to the UN

October 27 ( Today (Oct 27th) marks the 55th anniversary of Mongolia`s accession to the United Nations. 

In regards, Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon delivered a message to Mongolia. 

"It is a great pleasure to congratulate the Government and people of Mongolia on the 55th anniversary of Mongolia's membership of the United Nations.

Our partnership began when United Nations agencies first became engaged in Mongolia in the early 1960s.  Today, 11 United Nations Funds, Agencies and Programmes are present in the country, working to support sustainable development and improve the lives of all Mongolians.

Mongolia has been active in promoting all three pillars of the UN's work: human rights, peace and security and sustainable development.

On human rights, I commend the leaders and people of Mongolia for their commitment to a democratic vision for their country, which will support efforts to fight poverty and promote dignity, justice, peace and prosperity. 

Mongolia's commitment to global peace and security is demonstrated by the deployment of more than 900 Mongolian troops to six UN peace operations. Mongolia has declared itself a nuclear-weapon-free zone, and has contributed to regional trust-building by facilitating dialogue with neighbouring countries.

And Mongolia has made a strong start on the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, by integrating the 17 Sustainable Development Goals into its national development plan. I also thank Mongolia for the prompt ratification of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

My visit to Mongolia in 2009 was truly memorable. I hope the natural beauty and traditional culture of Mongolia will be maintained along with peace and prosperity for many years to come.

Congratulations on 55 years of successful partnership! We look forward to even stronger relations in the years ahead".

Link to article


Ban Ki Moon congratulates on 55 years of successful partnershipMontsame, October 27

Mongolia's joining UN secured 200 countries' recognition of our independence Montsame, October 27

Ban Ki-Moon congratulates Mongolia, October 27

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Colombian ambassador to Mongolia working to boost cultural ties

Ulaanbaatar, October 27 (MONTSAME) The Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms B.Battsetseg received October 26 the non-resident Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Colombia to Mongolia, Mr Tito Pinilla. The dignitaries discussed issues on bilateral relations.

The vice FM noted the two countries have opportunities to exchange practices in the mining and agriculture.

Mr Pinilla put forward an offer to invite Spanish language teachers from Colombia to teach courses to the public officials. He said the Embassy has been working toward improving mutual understanding between the two peoples, and informed that the Colombian Movie Days are underway in Ulaanbaatar, during which Tengis Cinema is screening biographical documentaries about the Nobel Prize laureate writer from Colombia Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

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Investors seek stability says Deputy Foreign Minister

October 27 (UB Post) Nearly three months have passed since the new Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister J.Erdenebat, was formed. Deputy Minister of Foreign Relations B.Battsetseg spoke in length about Mongolia's foreign relations and activities conducted in the past three months.

What have you been doing since your appointment as Deputy Foreign Minister?

As the economy is facing difficulties, the Ministry of Foreign Relations (MFR) is actively working to regain investors' trust and support measures to improve the economic situation. The ministry is quite busy right now.

Minister Ts.Munkh-Orgil has been working on weekends since he took office in July 25. Our main focus has been on identifying urgent problems, finding solutions as quickly as possible and determining measures to take through the Government Action Plan, which is to be implemented for the next four years.

The Government Action plan specifies 13 issues related to foreign relations. What instructions has the government given to the MFR?

Prime Minister J.Erdenebat has ordered us to focus on three areas. Firstly, we must focus on increasing political relations and negotiations with economic contents. Our ministry was originally named the Ministry of Foreign Affairs but it was changed to the MFR as foreign economic relation and foreign trade policies were added to our responsibility. Hence, our focal point has shifted to intermediating between Mongolian entrepreneurs and foreign partners, and promoting the nation as a reliable partner.

Secondly, the MRF will concentrate on creating favorable conditions in foreign markets through a national brand. The last focus area is to protect the rights and interests of Mongolians living and studying abroad and provide opportunities for them to use and contribute the knowledge and skills they acquired abroad for Mongolia's development. The 13 issues specified in the Government Action Plan are connected to these areas. In terms of quantity, it might seem few but these issues require considerable amount of work in terms of content and policy.

Foreign investment in Mongolia has drastically dropped in recent years. What is the MFR doing to boost foreign investment and improve Mongolia's credibility?

We're paying attention to establishing and implementing trade and economic cooperation with foreign countries both internationally and regionally. I've met with countless foreign guests since my appointment as deputy minister. Most of them emphasized the importance of a stable legal environment for attracting investors so we started a few projects aimed to ensure stability in the legal environment.

For example, we finalized the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement and inked it during the state visit by Canadian House of Commons Speaker Geoff Regan. This agreement provides equal rights for local and foreign investors and offers investment conditions that don't fall short of international conventions and agreements.

Twenty investment related articles were added to the Economic Cooperation Agreement established between Mongolia and Japan. In accordance with these articles, investors of both countries will have the same rights and obligations. We have agreed to enforce domestic laws and legislations in specific areas to invest in.

The MFR is also paying attention to the implementation of the Transparency Agreement, established between Mongolia and the USA in 2015. The Mongolian side agreed to upload draft bills on the website to ensure that changes in investment laws and regulations are transparent.

Prime Minister J.Erdenebat and Minister of Foreign relations Ts.Munkh-Orgil recently visited Japan. How significant was this state visit? Have any noteworthy negotiations been made?

Minister Ts.Munkh-Orgil made his first state visits to Japan and the Republic of Korea, which are very important partner countries in the Northeast Asian region. We're expanding strategic partnership with Japan and comprehensive partnership with the Republic of Korea. The Foreign Relations Minister's visit aimed to prepare for the Prime Minister's state visit, which took place from October 12 to 15.

This was the first state visit made by the new Prime Minister. Prime Minister J.Erdenebat made efforts to expand relations through negotiations with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. This time's state visit aimed to start negotiations for expanding Mongolia-Japan relations and cooperation, further develop friendly ties between Mongolian and Japanese people, and deepen cooperation between the two nations' private sectors. Personally, I consider the Prime Minister's state visit successful because initial targets were met. The Mongolia-Japan Trade and Investment Forum, was successfully held in Tokyo with participation of over 200 Japanese and 50 Mongolian entrepreneurs.

Prime Minister Abe promised to continue to support Mongolia's sustainable development and commended projects the Mongolian government is undertaking for supporting investment and recovering investors' trust. He also said that he will personally take part in researching areas to cooperate with Mongolia.

Mongolia and Japan will study opportunities to establish an agreement on mutually supplementing the production of value-added products, introduce Japanese technology to Mongolia's mining industry, and develop Mongolia's agriculture sector. The two sides also discussed the 45th anniversary of Mongolia-Japan diplomatic relations.

Mongolia's Energy Resources LLC and Japanese Sumitomo Corporation signed a cooperation memorandum on coal sales and marketing during Prime Minister J.Erdenebat's state visit. Coal exporting opportunities are opening. Will the coal exports to Japan be washed before shipment? When will the terms for a transit railway across China be settled?

A memorandum of understanding was established between companies of the two nations. In other words, the government didn't get involved in the process at all.

As stated in the memorandum, Energy Resources LLC and Sumimoto Corporation will organize a trial shipment of coal from Tavan Tolgoi mine in the first phase and supply coal which meet relevant standards to Japanese and Korean markets in the long run.

We could expect Mongolia to supply coal to these markets for a long time if things work out.

Mongolia established its first free trade agreement with Japan, which became effective this year. Do you expect this agreement to impact on bringing large changes to foreign trade and investment?

The purpose of establishing a free trade agreement is to boost trade and investment processes, reduce burden and obstacles, and increase trade circulation and investment. The agreement made with Japan is the first free trade agreement Mongolia has ever established. It will be significant for boosting trade and investment with Japan, and for joining the economic integration. The agreement came into force on June 7, 2016. Right now, it's a little too early to evaluate or see any result.

However, the study we conducted before signing the agreement estimated that trade between Mongolia and Japan would jump by up to 65 percent and Mongolia's export volume would increase by up to five percent by 2020. Japan inked free trade agreements with Mexico, the Philippines and Singapore. As a result, Japan's foreign investment increased by two to three percent, according to analysis.

What measures is the MFR taking to protect the interests and rights of Mongolians living abroad? Is it true that increasing number of Mongolians are committing or being associated with criminal activities overseas?

At present, over 130,000 Mongolians are living, working or studying abroad in 58 countries. These people are Mongolian representatives and envoys who are contributing greatly in our country's development and their families' lives.

Protecting the rights and interests of every Mongolian citizen has been underlined as an extremely important matter in the 2016-2020 Government Action Plan of the newly formed government. The ministry is actively protecting the rights and interests of Mongolians living abroad through 46 diplomatic missions and consular offices.

Through this objective, we plan to have our consular offices meet with consular offices of China, the Republic of Korea, Kazakhstan and Turkey, where many Mongolians reside. The meeting is intended to improve relations between consular offices and expand cooperation mechanisms with foreign consular offices.

The MFR successfully organized the second forum for Mongolians living abroad and Mongolian NGOs abroad in September, and several cooperation negotiations were held with associations of Mongolian citizens living abroad. We're exerting effort to protect the rights of our people serving sentences in other countries and we will continue to do so. Exactly 163 Mongolian citizens are currently serving sentences in 13 countries. Besides these people, there are 270 Mongolians being detained by foreign police organizations. The ministry can address the issue to bring these people back to Mongolia only if a proposal is submitted to the Ministry of Justice and Internal Affairs. This year, we brought back a Mongolian citizen who had been sentenced to prison in another country for a drug related crime. At the moment, we're discussing the transfer of another Mongolian convict in another country.

At present, Mongolia established prisoner transfer agreements with eight countries. According to the Council of Europe's Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, members of the council can use the multilateral mechanist to transfer prisoners in 27 member states and 19 non-member states.

Has any other state visit been scheduled for the Minister of Foreign Relations?

Minister of Foreign Relations Ts.Munkh-Orgil will participate in the second meeting of the Eurasian Economic Commission and the Mongolian government from November 1 to 3.

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Health, Education

Japan and Monaco Help Mongolia's Cancer Patients Receive Access to Upgraded Services

Waiting times for cancer patients at Mongolia's National Cancer Centre (NCC) in Ulaanbaatar, will significantly drop as the country's only radiotherapy centre expands the delivery of its care.

October 27 (IAEA) On a visit to Mongolia's National Cancer Centre (NCC) in May 2016, Ayako Kubo, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, discussed the various services the Centre offers, and Japan's collaboration with foreign countries and international organizations including the IAEA. Dr. Bayar Oyun, NCC's Deputy Director described the state-of-the-art cancer diagnosis and treatment services and training that can now be provided thanks to the support received from the governments of Japan and Monaco, through the IAEA's Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT).

Japan has allocated 200,000 USD to a PACT project for Mongolia through which the NCC has benefited. "The new radiotherapy planning system supported by Japan will be in place this year as our first Linear accelerator radiotherapy machines become operational," he said. "This will enable us to introduce additional highly accurate 3D radiation therapy and other modern technologies to Mongolia".

Non-communicable diseases, including cancer, are the main causes of death and illness in Mongolia. Liver and stomach cancers account for over half of all cases and deaths to the disease, and annual figures are expected to double over the next 15 years. Providing adequate care for cancer patients is complicated by a relatively small population living across one of the world's largest countries. In recognising this, Mongolia's efforts to provide access to improved treatment planning at the NCC will enable more patients to get the quality cancer care needed.

Ayako Kubo commended the Centre's work and said, "The NCC has an extremely important role in developing and enhancing the skills of the medical staff in charge of cancer treatment and palliative care all over Mongolia. It was a great pleasure to see with my own eyes how Japan's Peaceful Uses Initiative allocation to PACT contributed to the treatment for cancer patients in Mongolia."

Further assistance from the Principality of Monaco has provided a valuable boost for palliative care services through the training of palliative care doctors and nurses at district and provincial hospitals and the NCC, and the donation installation of additional equipment. The IAEA also supported technology for cancer diagnosis and treatment for radiation protection, x-ray calibration and medical imaging.

In 2010, the IAEA-PACT designated Mongolia as a PACT Model Demonstration Site. These pilot sites aim to demonstrate the effectiveness of evidence-based strategies as well as the benefits drawn from partners combining their efforts to advance comprehensive cancer control services.

Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT)

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SAP: Design Thinking for Students from National University of Mongolia Public Administration

October 27 (SAP Blog) Over a cold autumn day on 17 October, I had the privilege to conduct a 2 hour Design Thinking session for 25 students and 4 Faculties from the School of Public Administration, National University of Mongolia.  This was a session to help them develop Innovation skills to help them become better and more creative public servants in the future.

The students also learned about rapid prototyping, the need to understand challenges and use of scarce resources and working in teams during the marshmallow challenge.

They even discussed how they could apply Innovation in the public service.  For example, digitisation of tax collection where citizens can easily upload or submit their documents online to minimize the hassle of tax returns.

All in all, the students and faculties had a good session working in teams and learning about the need for them to become innovative.

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Culture, Society

Italian Photographer Lives With Nomadic Families In Central Mongolia To See Life Through Their Eyes

October 27 (Earthables) What's it like to live in the middle of nowhere without technology, corporate jobs and Facebook? Italian photographer Marco Giovanelli wanted to find out and so he decided to move in with the families of nomads living in the middle of nowhere in Central Mongolia.

Around here, families take care of everything themselves and live a very sustainable lifestyle off of the land. Their open-plan houses are called 'gers,' which most of their day-to-day activities take place in or around. Neighbors work together and families do almost everything as a team, creating a very strong sense of community.

According to Giovanelli, "the sense of collaboration, mutual aid and sharing is very strong."

While living with these families, Giovanelli captured many photos documenting their unique everyday lives.

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A 'deel' for a giant

October 27 ( Designers at the 'Bat Zuu' company have sewed a 14m long and 18 m wide 'Hunnu' deel - the size of a six-story building. The 'deel' is the traditional outer garment worn for centuries by Mongolians and their ancestors - the Hunnu.  For three months, over 50 designers have been working on the world's biggest deel. The traditional garment has been made from half a million metres of fabric.

The deel uses the original design of a Hunnu deel found in Delgerkhaan soum of Khentii province, which is preserved at the Mongolian National Historical Museum in Ulaanbaatar.

Gongor, the tallest person in Mongolia is 2.28 metre high; the deel would suit someone over ten times' his height. The chances of finding such a person are unlikely - but getting into the Guinness World Records, which is the designers' aim, is much more of a possibility!

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Mongolians makes the largest hunnu-style deelMontsame, October 27

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Nature, Environment

ACMS Speaker Series – Dr. Cristina Bertrand: Learning from Nature


Date: November 1

Time: 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Event Category: Speaker Series


American Corner, Ulaanbaatar Public Library

Phone: 976 7711-0486

Learning from Nature is a new way of understanding the place of human beings in the world.  It is also the first step for inquiring about the laws of the material world, the interrelation of these laws with the human world and its practical application to daily life. Nature, then, will be the Master and its knowledge will give human beings the wisdom they need to be successful in their lives and at the same time, to respect and protect Nature. Nature is the root of Mongolian primitive beliefs.  The connection with Nature is direct, and without an understanding it, life would be impossible in the harsh conditions of Mongolia's deserts, steppes and mountains.

In the beginning, human beings contemplated the Heaven above and the Earth below.  They were in the middle. This represents by itself a cosmology which we can also be found in the Chinese book of wisdom, the "Yi Jing".  The methodology of the Yi Jing can be applied to Mongolian Nature to try to understand its hidden laws which offer a gift of wisdom.  With my paintings of Mongolian landscapes, I will try to make this wisdom accessible to all who want to learn from Nature. 

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Trial online fishing licensing system launches

October 27 (UB Post) A new website,, and a smartphone application have been launched to enable fishermen to acquine license for fishing using the internet.

At the initiative of the World Environment Protection Foundation, the Ministry of Environment, Green Development and Tourism and Khentii Province's Department of Environment and Tourism partnered with Mayor's Offices of Dadal, Norovlin, Bayan-Adraga, Binder and Batshireet soums, as well as Onon River Fisher's Club, to carry out a trial online fishing licensing system.

The smartphone application can be downloaded on IOS and Android phones.

Each fishing license obtained online is valid for three days and allows fishers to catch no more than 10 fish at a time. Fishers are required to provide biomonitoring data of any fish they catch. The data will be used to analyze fishing activities and impose appropriate regulations, explained a ministry spokesperson.

If the trial is deemed successful, the Ministry of Environment, Green Development and Tourism plans to enable online fishing licensing throughout the nation.

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Art, Entertainment

Philadelphia Orchestra to stage concert in Ulaanbaatar in 2017

Ulaanbaatar, October 27 (MONTSAME) Mr.Ts.Munkh-Orgil, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mongolia met with Mr. Vladimir Petrovic, Ambassador of the Philadelphia Orchestra, on October 24th, 2016 in Ulaanbaatar.

Minister Ts.Munkh-Orgil expressed readiness to provide full support in organizing the upcoming concert by the Philadelphia Orchestra in June 2017 in Ulaanbaatar on the occasion of 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and the USA.

Ulaanbaatar city Mayor's office has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Orchestra earlier this year in Washington DC which brought this opportunity to its citizens to enjoy the world class music performances.

The 135 members of the Orchestra will perform one outdoor and several indoor concerts on 2-6 June 2017, as well as meet local music students, professors, industry professionals, and engage in people-to-people activities, workshops and seminars.

Established in 1900, the Philadelphia Orchestra is duly considered one of the "Big Five" orchestras in the USA and has performed in numerous cities around the globe in its rich history, reports the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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Script of Eternal Sky calligraphic exhibitions opening

Ulaanbaatar, October 27 (MONTSAME) In the spirit of celebration of the Great Khaan's birthday and the Day of Mongolian Pride, which befalls on October 31, the annual "Script of Eternal Sky" calligraphic exhibition is opening on October 28 at the Mongolian Fine Arts Gallery.

The exhibition has turned an annual event upon the initiative of the President of Mongolia, since 2011. This year's exhibition will last until the end of November 1, free of charge.

Meanwhile, minor exhibitions, featuring calligraphic works by school teachers, are available at the Children's Convention Center on Thursday and at the Chinggis Khaan Equestrian Monument Center on October 30 to last for 10 days each.

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Post Masquerade Party (in aid of Project Mongolia): Edinburgh, UK, November 30

Get ready kids this year the dancing doesn't end with the ball. Join Project Mongolia for our Masquerade ball after party into the wee hours of the morning. Reduced entry with a ball ticket! 

100% of the proceeds will go towards CYPPD, a Mongolian charity which advocates for children at risk of homelessness or abuse.

Dj set from Alex Hastings

More acts TBC

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Mongolia is a destination you cannot afford to miss

October 27 ( introduced the ten top countries for best in 2017 while Mongolia ranked 7th in the list. 

They highlighted: "In 2017 Mongolia will raise the curtain on a brand-new capital-city airport, a state-of- the-art facility that symbolises the country's rapid modernisation. Ulaanbaatar has been the biggest beneficiary of the economic boom, its transformed skyline bristling with glass and steel towers. At the centre of this development is a US$500-million Shangri-La complex, which will be completed by 2017, featuring a 290-room hotel, an IMAX cinema and a Hard Rock Café. Beyond the capital lies Mongolia's stunning countryside, highlighted by Lake Khövsgöl, the Blue Pearl of Asia. In 2015 the lake was connected to Ulaanbaatar by paved road, cutting driving time by 10 hours".

The ten destinations you cannot afford to miss are:

1.    Canada

2.    Colombia

3.    Finland

4.    Dominica

5.    Nepal

6.    Bermuda

7.    Mongolia

8.    Oman

9.    Myanmar

10.  Ethiopia


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Drinking horse milk: The things you have to do to please your travel hosts

October 27 ( I know what's coming. I've seen the big pot of off-white liquid taking pride of place in the centre of the ger. I've seen the ladle about to be dipped in. I've seen the drinking vessel, a dauntingly large bowl, ready to be filled.

Soon, it will be time to drink airag, the Mongolian delicacy of fermented mare's milk. This batch would have been days in the making. A horse would have been milked, the liquid tipped into a leather bag and allowed to slowly ferment in the open air, stirred every now and then to hasten the process.

To Mongolians like the people I'm spending this day with, airag isn't even reserved for celebrations. It's a staple. So as I sit here in a traditional ger, or yurt, far from civilisation, far from home, perched on a small stool surrounded by smiling, welcoming Mongolians, I know it will very soon be time for airag.

Sure enough, the old woman opposite me reaches for the ladle, spoons a large portion of liquid into the bowl, and offers it in my direction.

It would be easy to romanticise this moment. You could see this offering as a connection between our two worlds; you could picture our pairs of hands, one gnarled and chipped, the other pasty and soft, reaching out across a cultural divide. That is, until the first sip.

There's nothing romantic about airag. It's very sour, and slightly effervescent, and it has little black spots in it that I can't identify. It's not very nice on the first taste, then properly bad on the second taste, and pretty much undrinkable by the time I raise the bowl to my lips a third time. And I've still got three-quarters of it to go.

Fortunately, I'm rescued by cries from outside. All morning we've been waiting for action, for the ceremonies to begin. This is a special day for this family, a day on which their three-year-old son's hair will be cut for the first time. It's a big moment that's being made even bigger today by the branding of the family's horses, and a feast to follow.

Nothing has been able to begin, however, until the head of the family has arrived, and now he's finally rolled up in a shining 4WD, appearing as if from nowhere in the middle of the Mongolian wilderness. I step out of the felt ger, catching the crisp wind that whips across the steppe almost 24 hours a day, and spot the men of the family crowded around the horses, ready to lasso the ponies and begin the branding.

Mongolia is a country rich with living tradition. The airag I've just drunk is tradition. The first cutting of a child's hair is tradition. The branding of horses is tradition, and the feast is tradition. Even this nomadic lifestyle is a tradition that lives strong here on the steppe. Nothing about this is put on for tourists. This family didn't even know I was coming to visit until my guide called about an hour ago.

Regardless, I've been invited to watch their ceremony, to spend the night in a traditional home, to watch as real life unfolds.

The kids laugh at me with my big camera as the men of the family begin catching the ponies, lassoing them, tackling them to the ground, tying a rope around them and getting them ready for branding. This is done with an iron that's been sitting in a horse-dung fire for the last hour or so. The ponies yelp and the air smells of singed flesh.

With that task done, we all retire to one of the gers for the hair-cutting. In Mongolia, children grow their hair until the age of three, at which point there's a family gathering and each person takes his or her turn to clip a few of the locks and hand the child money as a token of good will.

There's a huge feast laid out to mark today's event. There are hard biscuits served with the curdled milk. There's horhog, a Mongolian stew of mutton and potatoes cooked with hot rocks thrown into the pot. And there's the drink that's even more highly cherished in Mongolia than airag: vodka.

A metal bowl of that harsh spirit is passed around the family, each person taking a deep gulp. I have a small sip. It's better than fermented horse milk.

Next, the young child begins walking around the circle, handing each person a large pair of scissors, looking nervous as his long mane of hair becomes progressively shorter, and his handful of money larger.

Eventually the deed is done, and everyone gets into the serious business of feasting. Mutton is eaten. Biscuits are crunched. And you know the airag can't be far off.

GETTING THERE No airlines fly directly to Mongolia from New Zealand. Air China flies from Sydney to Ulan Bator, via Beijing. Go to

STAYING THERE Beyond Travel offers the Mongolian ger experience as part of a private tour from Ulan Bator to Hustai National Park. The trip includes wildlife spotting, an overnight stay in a traditional ger, a visit to a nomadic family, all meals and transfers. See

Ben Groundwater travelled as a guest of Beyond Travel.

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Trans Mongolian Railway: Irkutsk – Ulaanbaatar

October 27 (Koen Blanquart) Back on the Trans Mongolian Railway: Nearly two weeks since I started discovering Russia. Now on the train to switch countries. Mongolia, here I come!

A new train color

After traveling on the Russian trains between Moscow and Yekaterinburg and then again on the train between Yekaterinburg and Irkutsk, I was getting used to these trains. So much to my surprise when I came on the platform in Irkutsk, there was no grey-red Russian train waiting for me, but a green one, a Chinese operated train. The person who greets me even wears the Chinese Railway uniform.

And I remembered indeed that the Chinese Railways operate some of these lines on the Trans Mongolian Railway, even in Russia. My cabin looks different from the one I had on the Russian trains. Where the Russian car had two lower beds , this one has the beds superposed.

There's a shower between two compartments (mine doesn't work, it seems) and not as much storage room as I would have hoped. So far I have the 2-persons cabin for me, but I know that can change in every station along the road.

Windows that open

Another, rather nice, surprise is that the windows in the hallway actually open. For a photographer that makes all the difference. For one of my projects I need good movies from the moving train, so instead of relying on attaching gopro's to the outside, I can now do some filming from inside out! Since we needed some train footage for reporting project I'm working on, this is perfect. Now hoping I don't drop a camera while doing this.

During my first walk to the restaurant car (all the way in the back of the train) I notice a weird situation. In the first cart I enter via the loud door, I bump into a Chinese train attendant, who is cooking his meal, on a coal stove?! And indeed, in that place there's a storage of coal,. Turns out that the samovar, the source of life (and warm drinking water – I discussed that in my first leg on the train) on board is heated with coal on these trains. Who would have thought I'd be on a train that needs coals in 2016?

Another observation, while the women who managed the Russian train managed their car as if they would be inspected every possible second, these Chinese operators (most of them men) take it a bit easier. That results in a bit relaxed way to deal with them, bit also the fact there is no paper in the bathroom. I've traveled enough to be ready, no worry, thanks for asking!

With the restaurant all the way in the back of the train, it's a bit more convenient to meet people. There's a different crowd on this train. While the Russian trains had mostly Russians on board, this is more of a backpackers train. I expect many of these passengers to get of in Ulan Bator (Ulaanbaatar?) and explore the countryside in Mongolia, just like me.

Ulan Ude

The first long stretch of the train goes, as I learned yesterday, around lake Baikal. The first real stop after Irkutsk is Ulan Ude. It is also the last real long stop (45 minutes – they change locomotives here) before we'll hit the border. I found what I did not found in the center of Irkutsk, some postcards. I've been searching for some postcards from the places where I go, and every once and a while I find inspiration to send a card to someone I know. Irkutsk however is missing in the collection of cards. If you come along this trip, and find postcards here: please do send me one, the address is on the contact page!

The Mongolian – Russian border

On the train schedule, it says that we'll need 110 minutes (yep, pretty precise) to clear the Russian border, leaving the country, and that we'll need another 2 hours to enter Mongolia.

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From Central Mongolia to Gobi Desert (with video)

October 26 (Such a nice life) Mongolia is not only about vast steppe. It is home to a few volcanoes (though not active ones), many lakes and the fifth-largest desert in the world and Asia's largest – Gobi Desert.

After 3 days on the horseback we moved our sore butts to the car and together with our man Ganbatar we went for a road trip by his little big car driving either on the empty highways or taking totally off-road paths. We did enjoy it although we spent quite a lot of time in a car.


We stopped at some really beautiful places starting from the capital of Arkhangai Aimag (province), Tsetserleg that is picturesquely situated among several peaks and has a charming temple with 7m high statue of the Buddha overlooking the town.

From there we moved to huge 20m high granite rock standing out in the middle of a plain called Taikhar Chuluu (Taikhar Rock). The rock is said to be covered with inscriptions dating back as far as Turkic rule, followed by more in the Mongol and Tibetan languages but due to many graffiti it's actually impossible to see them. Of course there are many legends which explain the strange presence of the rock in this place, including the belief that anyone who manages to throw a stone on the top of the rock will get rich.

Due to the bad weather we neither contemplated the rock's presence nor tried to get rich and quickly moved on to the next stop – Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur (also known as Great White Lake) that was our place to stay overnight.

The new tires and mp3 player with 100+ Mongolian hits purchased in Tsetserleg was supposed to smooth our ride. Unfortunately it started raining like crazy and the night was approaching. We stopped at some random yurt next to the road where we could prepare the food. Soon after we needed to go off –road, passing the rivers in the dark was another adventure. Once we reached the yurt camp at the lakeside, it was late at night and we immediately crawled into our sleeping bags.

Only in the early morning woken up by Ganbatar lighting the fire and smell of the pancakes that followed, we saw how beautiful the place was.

Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur – Great White Lake

This lake is a part of Khorgo – Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park, placed in a stunning landscape surrounded by extinct volcanoes. It said to be formed by lava flows from a volcanic eruption many millennia ago. Some parts of its shoreline are sandy and in the summer the water is good for a swim. This crystal clear fresh lake is renowned for its fish and birdlife. The volcanic stone mounds visible at the shore are built by the Shamanists. 

After spending some time at the lake we packed our stuff and drove to the Khorgo Uul (volcano). This 200m tall extinct volcano is an easy walk up and provides nice views of the lake and surrounding lava covered countryside around the crater rim.

After 'conquering' the volcano, we drove back to Kharkhorin stopping for the lunch at Chuluut Canyon where we were watching the eagles flying just a few meters above our heads tempted by the bread we kept throwing towards them.

We don't regret taking 5 day tour in Central Mongolia although have to admit that horse riding part was much more beautiful experience and there is no better way to explore this amazing country and its nature than on the horseback.


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