Wednesday, November 30, 2016

[APIP announces IPO; ERD expands hi-grade zones; KCC concludes field season; Thiess reduces MEC claim; and MNT sets 3rd straight low]

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Wednesday, November 30, 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

·         APIP to launch December IPO in London

·         Erdene Continues to Expand High-Grade Zones at Bayan Khundii

·         Kincora: Re-registration of IBEX licenses achieved, field activities concluded

·         Haranga Issues 36.4 Million Shares Under Rights Issue

·         Thiess reduces MEC claim

·         Eumeralla to Announce Proposed Acquisition

·         Aspire Mining: Results of AGM

·         Viking Mines: Results of AGM

Local Market

·         MSE: Top 20 +0.43%, ALL -0.29%, Turnover ₮24.2 Million Shares, ₮7.2 Billion T-Bills


·         MNT sets 3rd straight historic low vs USD

·         BoM issues ₮234 billion 1-week bills, total outstanding -10.7% to ₮421 billion

·         BoM sells US$24.2m at ₮2,465.3, CNY9m at ₮357.11; no swap offers received

·         Government arranges consultative meeting with development partners

·         Preliminary discussion of economic stabilization bill held in parliament

·         The beast to bear the burden

·         De Facto: Stopping tugrug decline

·         METALS-Copper drops while lead, zinc slip from peaks as rally loses steam

·         Thermal coal retreat takes wind out of surging iron ore prices

·         Gold Regains Ground as Dollar Weakens

·         OPEC Discord Sends Oil Prices Lower

Politics & Legal

·         Former MP A. Tleikhan Appointed Chairman of Energy Regulatory Commission

·         92th Anniversary of Proclamation of Mongolian Republic Marked

·         Prime minister speaks to Mongolia's newest citizens about their future

·         "Winter" handcuffs - goes on display

·         UN torture prevention experts announce visits to Panama, Mongolia and Spain

·         Emerging Subjects' Second Advisory Board Meeting: Features of Mongolian Capitalism


·         Mongolian Business Database: MBD Missions Abroad in 2017

·         Holiday Inn Opens in Ulaanbaatar

·         AmCham Mongolia Hosts Its 2016 Annual General Meeting

·         AmCham Daily Newswire for November 29, 2016

·         Big Firms and Their Far-Flung Offices: Hogan Lovells in Mongolia

·         The Times Are They A-Changin' in Mongolia? Green Development as an Opportunity in Times of Economic Downturn

·         Austrade: Reforms aim to lure business interest in Mongolia

·         Mongolia and FAO set sights on South-South Cooperation to boost agricultural development


·         Mongolia Vows to Fight Smog Even as Funds Diverted to Budget Gap

·         Banks say issued ₮514.2 billion loans that reduce air pollution

·         Open discussion of the 2017 city budget held

·         UB events not to be missed in December


·         Mongolian FM Signs Book of Condolences on Fidel Castro's Demise

·         60th Anniversary of Serbia-Mongolia Relations Celebrated

·         China Threatens Payback for Dalai Lama Trip to Mongolia

·         Initiatives For China lauds Mongolia, urges others to resist 'bully' China

·         Ethnic Mongolian Dissident Appeals 'Separatism' Conviction to China's Highest Court

Health & Education

·         Japan exports technical college know-how to Mongolia

·         Scientist awarded ₮100 million for finding potential cancer cure

·         Mongolian Named Russia's Student of the Year

·         President of Mongolian Intellectual Academy Kh.Khatanbaatar receives Order of Khangarid

·         Mongolia Awarded CYFI Global Inclusion Award for Youth Support

Culture & Society

·         Mongolian Buddhists should pay more attention to studies: Dalai Lama

·         Soyombo alphabet marks 330 years

·         'Eagle Huntress' shows girls are the same all over – even on the steppes

·         Lucky Paws: Preventative contraception would avoid unnecessary deaths

·         Nomadic Shelters Become Modern Yurts in Oregon Parks

·         AsianDate Lists Its Top 5 Destinations That Make Mongolia So Magical and Captivating

Nature & Environment

·         70 percent of Mongolian territory covered with thick snow

·         Discovering The Dinosaurs Of The Flaming Cliffs

·         Mongolia and Russia to collaborate on protection of snow leopards and bighorns


·         Mongolia's Kakuryu wins 3rd grand sumo title

·         How Mongolia Conquered Japanese Sumo

·         King Tug to fight Mexican German Meraz for 7 in 7

·         "Mongolian Judo" documentary premiered today

·         Mongolian teenager grabs gold at Irkutsk wrestling tournament

·         Mongolian runner wins Fuji San marathon

·         E.Temuujin claims silver at U17 World Junior 9-Ball Championships

·         Mongolian university basketball team returns home with silver in world 3x3

·         Mongolia to host world bodybuilding and fitness championships

·         Mongolian speed skaters set new national records in Minsk

·         Amateur national bowling league tournament crowns champions

·         Mongolian Student Sports Federation named best in Asia

·         The Mongol Rally Is a Guaranteed (But Super-Fun) Disaster

Art & Entertainment

·         At home in Hollywood: Recognition for Mongolian cinematographer


·         Koryo Tours: Mongolia - Vast, Rugged Expanses

·         Incredible photos of Mongolian nomad families braving extreme weather

·         67 Interesting Facts About Mongolia



Int'l Market

Specialist Mongolian developer Asia Pacific Investment Partners to launch December IPO in London

Hong-based real estate firm, APIP, plans full listing of its share capital on London's alternative investment market

November 28 (South China Morning Post) Asia Pacific Investment Partners (APIP), the Hong Kong-based real estate developer, is to launch a full initial public offering in London next month, on the SME-dominated alternative investment market (AIM).

The company, which invests and develops properties primarily in Mongolia, has applied to list its entire share capital to trade on AIM, which allows smaller firms more flexibility than London's main stock market.

APIP plans to use the funds raised, on further expansion of its real estate portfolio, including Mongolia's middle-income residential market and providing mortgage loans to individuals and businesses in Mongolia, according to Lee Cashell, its chief executive officer, for which it has a licence.

Further down the line there could also be expansion into Myanmar and other emerging markets.

"We have spent the last 15 years in the Mongolian market," Cashell said. "We believe the group is now well positioned to capitalise on the strong growth opportunities in the Mongolian economy."

APIP's revenue rose in the first half of the year to US$1.36 million compared with US$1.02 million in the same period last year.

The company has developed around 53,000 square metres of real estate across five developments in the country's capital Ulaanbaatar, and holds eight plots of land on which it believes it can build a further 450,000 square metres.

Its real state assets in Mongolia were estimated to be worth US$312.8 million, according to DTZ Cushman & Wakefield.

APIP said it has "strong growth underpinned by current and near-term projects, future planned projects and development and growth of prime land bank at attract cost".

"Cashell first indicated back in October 2012 he planned to float the company in Hong Kong by early 2014, but did not clarify why they ultimately decided to list in London.

Hong Kong still leads the world's IPO market, but unlike London Stock Exchange it operates under the principle of "one share, one vote", which prevents companies with a dual-class structure from floating their shares.

Hong Kong represented 22 per cent of worldwide listing funds in the first nine months of the year with 40 issuers, according to Thomson Reuters data. London accounted for 3.6 per cent with nine IPO issuers.

Link to article

Link to APIP release


Mongolian Property Firm Sets Sights on Myanmar and Beyond in Frontier IPOFrontera News, November 28

Mongolian property company to float on London's junior marketThe Telegraph, November 28

Mongolian property developer aims for London floatCity A.M., November 28

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ERD jumped 8% Monday on the announcement, jumped further 11.11% on Tuesday to C$0.45

Erdene Continues to Expand High-Grade Zones at Bayan Khundii, Including Most Significant Intersection to Date, 65 Metres of 6.3 g/t Gold, Including 12 Metres of 29 g/t Gold

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwired - Nov. 28, 2016) - Erdene Resource Development Corp. (TSX:ERD) ("Erdene" or "Company") is pleased to report the fourth batch of drill results from its Q3/Q4 drill campaign at its 100%-owned Bayan Khundii Gold Project ("Bayan Khundii") in southwest Mongolia.

"Today's results further support our belief that Bayan Khundii represents one of the most prospective new high-grade, near-surface gold discoveries in the industry today. Our drill program continues to push the boundaries of the mineralized system at depth and along strike, with today's results including the widest, high-grade intercepts we have witnessed to date," said Peter Akerley, Erdene's President and CEO. "We recently completed a series of drill holes on our two adjacent gold projects within the larger gold district, and have now returned to Bayan Khundii to test new areas for expansion north of the initial discovery. These holes will test targets in the area surrounding hole BKD-60, a strongly mineralized step-out hole that was announced in October."

Highlights (see attached plan maps and cross-sections for reference)

·         Drilling continues to extend the boundaries of gold mineralization at Bayan Khundii with several high-grade gold intersections over wide intervals with six of the 13 reported holes ending in gold mineralization

·         Multiple gold-bearing structures are now being defined at Bayan Khundii, including Striker Zone, the most extensively explored zone

·         Deep Striker

o    Drilling along the southern boundary of the Striker Zone, targeting extensions at depth, returns highest grade gold intercept reported to date with 65 m of 6.3 g/t gold including 37 m of 11 g/t gold (BKD-77)

·         Striker North

o    New zone north of Striker is further defined with multiple, high-grade intersections over wide intervals, including 18 m of 7.1 g/t gold, within 58 m of 2.5 g/t gold (BKD-86)

o    All three holes testing a northern extension to Striker Zone ended in gold mineralization

·         Striker Main

o    Drilling within the core of Striker Zone establishes further continuity of the high-grade zone with 21 m of 8.3 g/t gold, within 36.7 m of 5.0 g/t gold (BKD-84)

·         Step-Out Drilling

o    Drill plan for remainder of Q4-2016 has been modified to include testing area surrounding successful step-out hole reported October 18, 2016 (BKD-60; 68 m of 2.0 g/t gold)

o    Drill rig currently active in vicinity of BKD-60; results anticipated in Q1-2017

Table 1. Results summary for holes BKD-76 to BKD-87, including an extension of hole BKD-27

Link to release

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Announcement after Monday close. KCC closed flat Tuesday at C$0.39

Kincora: Re-registration of IBEX licenses achieved, field activities concluded

  • Kincora scrip (share) consideration released from escrow post re-registration of the IBEX licenses being achieved.
  • Last milestone achieved for the IBEX transaction.
  • Field activities concluded, results being integrated with Technical Workshop planned.

VANCOUVER, Nov. 28, 2016 /CNW/ - Further to its news release of November 7, 2016, Kincora Copper Ltd. (the "Company", "Kincora") (TSXV:KCC),  is pleased to announce that the re-registration of the mineral licences held by Ibex Land Mongolia LLC into the name of Kincora's subsidiary Golden Grouse Ibex LLC by the Mineral Resources, Petroleum Authority of Mongolia ("MRPAM", previously known as the Mineral Resources Authority of Mongolia, "MRAM") has occurred. This is the last milestone for the IBEX transaction.

As a result the 5,895,000 shares and 2,947,500 warrants of Kincora registered in the name of High Power Ventures Inc. ("HPV") held in escrow have been released to HPV and are expected to ultimately be held by the shareholders of HPV. The warrants have an exercise price of $0.54 (equal to 1.8 times the price per security of the July 28, 2016, private placement of Kincora) and a term of 24 months. This term is subject to acceleration if the closing price on the TSX Venture Exchange is greater than $0.90 for 30 consecutive trading days and Kincora elects to accelerate the expiry date of the warrants to 30 days from the date of such notice.

The Company is also pleased to provide an update that field activities have concluded on time and budget. Recent programs have included extensive ground magnetics, detailed mapping, regional and local geochemistry, petrography, whole rock geochemistry with fertility analysis, and age dating. Further high priority drilling targets are expected in addition to those previously announced at Bayan Tal (refer our November 7, 2016 press release and new Company presentation). The Company looks forward to providing further details upon conclusion of a planned Technical Committee Workshop, where a portfolio of high quality targets across Kincora's district level portfolio will be ranked and systematic exploration activities outlined to advance these targets up the value curve.

Kincora has 48,621,959 issued shares and the aforementioned 2,947,500 warrants outstanding.

Further details on Kincora's corporate structure, priority exploration targets and pipeline of prospects are provided in an updated corporate presentation: 

Link to release

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HAR last traded A$0.003 on November 17

Haranga Issues 36.4 Million Shares Under Rights Issue

November 29, Haranga Resources Ltd. (ASX:HAR) --

Link to Appendix 3B

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Report published after Tuesday market close. 276 closed flat at HK$0.39

Mongolia Energy Corp: Interim Results

November 29, Mongolia Energy Corp. Ltd. (HKEx:276) --

The directors (the "Directors") of Mongolia Energy Corporation Limited (the "Company") announce the condensed consolidated results of the Company and its subsidiaries (together collectively referred to as the "Group") for the six months ended 30 September 2016 (the "Financial Period") together with the comparative figures for the corresponding period in the previous year as follows:




The Group's principal business is coal mining and exploration which is operated by our indirect wholly-owned subsidiary in Mongolia, MoEnCo LLC ("MoEnCo"). Our principal project is the Khushuut Coking Coal Project in Western Mongolia. We sell coking coal and thermal coal to our customers in the People's Republic of China ("China" or "PRC") and Mongolia respectively.

During the Financial Period, we continued our tightening measures and careful planning in our operation and production in response to the stringent market conditions, though coal price surged at the end of this period along with other positive economic signs. Approximately 451,400 tonnes of run-of-mine ("ROM") coal were produced and approximately 198,000 tonnes of coal were sold to our customers during this period.




Legal Proceedings with Contractors

The following are the major disputes with our contractors:

With Thiess Mongolia LLC ("Thiess") (formerly Leighton LLC)

Two writs of summons were taken out by Thiess in 2013 claiming the Company for MNT12.2 billion (approximately HK$57.3 million) and MNT7.7 billion (approximately HK$36.4 million) respectively.

In May 2015, Thiess applied to the court to amend its Statements of Claim under the two writs according to its amended Statements of Claim,

(i) the amount of the first writ claimed has changed from MNT12.2 billion (approximately HK$57.3 million) to US$9.04 million (approximately HK$70.1 million); and

(ii) the amount of the second writ claimed has changed from MNT7.7 billion (approximately HK$36.4 million) to US$16.6 million (approximately HK$128.8 million).

The mediation between the Company and Thiess was held before a mediator in April 2016, but the parties were unable to settle due to divergence of views.

The whole mediation process finally reached an impasse. As we did not accept the proposed settlement amount by Thiess, the mediation was terminated and the proceedings moved on.

Thiess had subsequently requested to consolidate the two actions filed by it. As the two actions were both related to claims arising out of one contract, and after taking advice from legal adviser, we agreed with Thiess to consolidate the two proceedings. Procedurally, Thiess was required to file a consolidated Statement of Claim and we were required to file a consolidated Defence.

Following the court's directions, we had received Thiess's consolidated Statement of Claim. Under the consolidated Statement of Claim, Thiess had now substantially reduced its claim to US$13,544,460.27 by giving up its alleged service fees after October 2012. We filed our consolidated Defence in November 2016.

We will continue to pursue the case to protect our best interests.

With a Xinjiang Contractor

MoEnCo used to have a Chinese contractor (SJ) in Xinjiang to provide coal washing and blending services for MoEnCo for three years. The contract was signed between MoEnCo and SJ in June 2012. The cooperation was unsatisfactory and SJ terminated the contract and lodged an arbitration application against MoEnCo and the Company for a claim of approximately RMB32 million (approximately HK$40 million), being refund of the payment it made in advance on behalf of MoEnCo (mainly tax, levy, and other costs incurred in the PRC) and loss of profit, together with interest, etc. for breach of contract.

MoEnCo and the Company objected to the claims by SJ. The arbitration was initially heard in November 2014 and was further heard in January 2015. The award was granted in favour of SJ against the Company for approximately RMB16.1 million (approximately HK$19.3 million), being approximately RMB11.2 million payment in advance and RMB3.3 million loss in processing fees and other miscellaneous charges. The amount of the award is interest bearing until settlement.

Under the award, while MoEnCo was the party to the contract of dispute, but the Company had been ruled as the principal party to the contract and be held mainly responsible for the award payment instead of MoEnCo. The Company received an order of the Hong Kong court in April 2016 granting leave to SJ to enforce the award against the Company and MoEnCo in Hong Kong. The Company had instructed its legal counsels to set aside the court order which was heard in September 2016. The decision was recently handed down by the court and it was granted in favour of SJ to enforce the arbitral award against the Company.

We are taking legal advice from our legal counsel in relation to the possibility of appeal. The Company had made a provision of approximately HK$21.0 million in respect of the claims.


Link to full report

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EUM last traded A$0.06 on Nov 24

Eumeralla Resources Shares Suspended Pending Announcement on Proposed Acquisition

November 30 -- Eumeralla Resources Limited (ASX: EUM, "the Company") requests a voluntary suspension of its securities effective from the commencement of trading on Wednesday, 30 November 2016 in accordance with ASX Listing Rule 17.2, pending an announcement by the Company in respect to a proposed acquisition by the Company.

The Company requests that the voluntary suspension remain in place until the Company makes an announcement to the market, which it expects to make pre-market on Monday, 5 December 2016.

The Company is not aware of any reason why the voluntary suspension should not be granted or any other information necessary to inform the market about the voluntary suspension.

Link to release

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AKM closed +3.12% Tuesday to A$0.033

Aspire Mining: Results of Annual General Meeting

November 29, Aspire Mining Ltd. (ASX:AKM) We advise that resolutions 1 to 8 contained in the Notice of Annual General Meeting dated 20 October 2016 were passed at the Annual General Meeting of shareholders held on 29 November 2016.

Proxy votes exercisable by all proxies validly appointed were as follows:







Proxy Discretion



Adoption of Remuneration Report








Re-election of director – Gan-Ochir Zunduisuren








Re-election of director – David McSweeney








Issue of Performance Rights – David McSweeney








Issue of Performance Rights – Neil Lithgow








Issue of Performance Rights – Hannah Badenach








Issue of Performance Rights – Gan-Ochir Zunduisuren








Issue of Performance Rights – David Paull







Link to release

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VKA closed +10% Tuesday to A$0.022

Viking Mines: Results of Annual General Meeting

November 29 -- Viking Mines Limited (ASX: VKA) advise the following resolutions placed before shareholders at an Annual General Meeting on 29 November 2016 were approved as follows:

Ordinary Resolution 1 as set out in the Notice of Meeting to Adopt the Remuneration Report was passed by a show of hands. Proxy details in respect of this resolution were as follows:

Ordinary Resolution 2 as set out in the Notice of Meeting to Re-elect Mr Gardner as a director was passed by a show of hands. Proxy details in respect of this resolution were as follows:

Ordinary Resolution 3 as set out in the Notice of Meeting to Approve 10% Placement Facility was passed by a show of hands. Proxy details in respect of this resolution were as follows:

Link to release

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Local Market

MSE Trading Report, Nov 29: Top 20 +0.43%, ALL -0.29%, Turnover 24.2 Million Shares, ₮7.2 Billion T-Bills

November 29 (MSE) --

Link to report

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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, November 24 Close




































































































































































































Bank USD rates at time of sending: Khan (Buy ₮2,458 Sell ₮2,466), TDB (Buy ₮2,460 Sell ₮2,470), Golomt (Buy ₮2,455 Sell ₮2,466), XacBank (Buy ₮2,456 Sell ₮2,468), State Bank (Buy ₮2,458 Sell ₮2,470)

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

Link to rates

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BoM issues 234 billion 1-week bills, total outstanding -10.7% to ₮421 billion

November 28 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 234 billion at a weighted interest rate of 15.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release

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BoM sells US$24.2m at 2,465.3, CNY9m at 357.11; no swap offers received

November 29 (Bank of Mongolia) Spot trade: Commercial banks bid MNT 2450.00-2474.11 for USD40.9 million and MNT 352.00-357.21 for CNY57.0 million respectively. The BoM sold USD24.2 million with a single rate of MNT 2465.30 and CNY9.0 million with a single rate of MNT 357.11.

Swap and forward trade: The BoM din not receive any bid offers of swap agreements from commercial banks.

Link to release

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Government arranges consultative meeting with development partners

By B. Amarsaikhan

Ulaanbaatar, November 28 (MONTSAME) The Consultative meeting of the Government of Mongolia and the Development Partners will take place on December 2. Present will be the Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, related officials of other ministries, heads of diplomatic missions, and representatives of the World Bank, IMF and international banking and financial organizations.

The aim of the event is to present the Sustainable Development Concept of Mongolia until 2030 and the Government Action Plan, as well as to carry on discussions and dialogues on possible cooperation in frames of the sustainable development goals.

The discussions will be divided into three main topics: the stability and perspectives of Mongolian economy; development policy and priorities of Mongolia; and pillar sectors for sustainable growth.

Link to article

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Preliminary discussion of economic stabilization bill held in parliament

November 29 (UB Post) The first discussion of the bill on overcoming economic hardships and a plan for stabilization was held by Parliament on November 25.

Minister of Finance B.Choijilsuren, Chair of the Financial Regulatory Commission (FRC) S.Davaasuren, and working groups from the Ministry of Finance and Mongol Bank participated in the discussion.

Members of Parliament asked if the country's credit rating will improve, if unemployment rates will decrease, and if investment will increase if the bill is passed.

During the session, Finance Minister B.Choijilsuren pushed for a "national cost cutting agenda", which he said could raise the current Moody's rating of Caa1 by two ratings if implemented. Reporting that the unemployment rate was at 10.4 percent as of June 2016, the Minister said that the agenda would cut unemployment by three percent, to make the rate seven percent.

MPs and parliamentary working groups submitted proposals during the discussion. Head of the Economic Standing Committee D.Terbishdavga proposed a short-term action plan to create part-time jobs and offer training courses to people who have registered as unemployed. There was also a proposal to facilitate short-term employment abroad.

Of the proposals submitted by MPs and working group members, 38 of them were voted down. A proposal to change the name of the bill to "Agenda for Reviving the Economy" was largely supported. A proposal to regulate the implementation of the bill by holding officials accountable and requiring that they report their progress to Parliament every six months was supported by the majority, and the responsibility for reporting was delegated to the government, Mongol Bank, and the FRC. Proposals to improve budgetary discipline, diversify the state's sources of revenue, and to shift towards a cost cutting standard were also supported by the majority.

The participants voted on a wide variety of proposals addressing different topics and sectors. These included supporting SMEs with tax breaks and loans; improving legislation regarding the banking sector, specifically regarding the operations of foreign banks; supporting domestic manufacturing; supporting agricultural businesses; improving livestock health; and improving the export of animal products. All of these proposals were supported by the majority.

Near the end of the session, proposals rejected by the Economic Standing Committee were voted on. Proposals to continue Tavan Tolgoi mining operations, to build the 450 megawatt Tavan Tolgoi power station, to expand Thermal Power Plant III by 250 megawatts, and to expand Choibalsan Thermal Power Plant by 50 megawatts were all passed. The expansion of development around the new Khushig Valley International Airport was also supported.

The bill was transferred to the Economic Standing Committee to be prepared for a final discussion by Parliament.

Link to article

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The beast to bear the burden

By Ts. Elbegsaikhan (Mongolian Economy Journal October 2016 №17 (119))

November 29 (Mongolian Economy) The burden on the mining sector is going to get heavier. Perhaps there is no other way considering the future of the business, because this sector has accepted that this burden before the entire world.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted by the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly. Mongolia joined the agenda along with 193 UN member countries. It will be possible to get rid of many of today's pressing global issues if this programme with the aim of extinguishing poverty and eliminating starvation can be successfully implemented.

Even major multinational companies have recognised the importance of these goals and are shifting their operations to become more environmentally friendly. Their investment and effort spent on re-usage of water, renewable energy sources, infrastructure in rural areas and environmental remediation is increasing.

We all know Mongolia's economy is highly dependent on the mining sector and that its growth is directly related to the sector's market at home and abroad. The mining sector accounts for about a fifth of GDP and more than 80 percent of net exports. During the Mining in Mongolia and the Sustainable Development Goals Forum, Ms. Beate Trankmann, United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Mongolia, said that now Mongolia needs to harmonise its plans for the mining sector and state policies with this UN agenda and bolster the effort and involvement of mining companies in order to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Held on October 13, this forum sought ways to harmonise SDGs with the mining business by involving representatives from the public and private sector and non-governmental and international organisations to exchange views and experience. The forum was organised with the support of the Mongolian Alumni of Minerals and Energy for Development Alliance (MEfDA) and the Embassy of Australia.

"The role of the private sector is key as the amount of money budgeted by states is insufficient to implement the SDGs," said Ms. Beate Trankmann. Although the official documents of the programme do not include the word "mining," this sector is definitely correlated with the main goals of improving water supply, boosting employment, eliminating poverty, improving efficiency of energy and land usage and reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.

Dr. Byambajav Dalaibuyan, a researcher at the University of Queensland, said that Mongolia has the potential to fully implement the SDGs by increasing the economic efficiency of the mining sector and engraining proper resource governance. According to him, working on all the 17 goals at the same time will require too much effort and money. Therefore, the goals need to be put into an order as the fundamental aim in the implementation of these goals is to improve people's living standards. People will be able to focus on education, the environment and health issues only after they reach a certain living standard.

However, challenges facing countries vary. For example, starvation and clean water are not among the most pressing issues for Mongolia. But pollution, creation of stable jobs and reducing inequality may be target issues. People's living standards will improve by successfully reaching the goal of eliminating poverty and inequality, which in turn will help reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions as people will use less raw coal. Furthermore, with the decreased amount of lead in the air, respiratory problems will decrease. Dr. Byambajav believes that it will be easier to achieve the other goals if the main problems can be resolved in such ways.

Initially, experts thought that the mining sector's involvement would be key in six goals of the SDGs. However, a joint report titled "Mapping Mining to the Sustainable Development Goals" by the UNDP and the World Economic Forum published in January of this year identified a wider connection with the mining sector. The research says that the mining sector is actually connected to every sustainable development goal, based on the opinions of professors of international universities and academics and researchers of every sector.

According to the report, the mining sector is a global sector and noted that this sector mostly concentrates in the least developed countries, the ones that need the implementation of the SDGs the most. Moreover, the report says: "when managed appropriately, it can create jobs, spur innovation and bring investment and infrastructure at a game-changing scale over long time horizons. If managed poorly, mining can also lead to environmental degradation, displaced populations and increased conflict, among other challenges."

Advancing the sustainable development agenda requires substantial and on-going partnerships between governments, the private sector and civil society. "Partnerships for the Goals" is one of the 17 SDGs. In order to involve mining companies in the SDGs, supporting and rewarding the companies performing activities consistent with the goals is an innovative and effective solution. Currently, major international financial institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF have already started to undertake similar activities. They have started providing long-term and preferential loans several years ago to companies introducing environmentally friendly technologies and meeting green business requirements.

Mongolia has determined its long-term sustainable development policy until 2030. Currently, it is doing the works to harmonise the policy with the mining sector. Just recently on September 23, the UNDP approved the Country Programme for Mongolia for the period 2017-2021 in New York. The new programme will promote the implementation of the SDGs in Mongolia and support the country in making the transformation towards more inclusive and sustainable development pathways leveraging the potential of its vast mineral wealth. It will focus on two interlinked objectives: 1) reducing poverty and inequality and 2) decreasing vulnerability and marginalisation. 

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De Facto: Stopping tugrug decline

By Jargal "De Facto" Dambadarjaa

November 27 (UB Post) Exchange rates for a currency are determined in relation to the rates of other currencies. If we look at the Mongolian turgrug (MNT), one USD was exchanged for 4.04 (MNT) just before the socialist system collapsed in 1990, then, the rate increased to 400 MNT in 1993. It was at a time when broad reforms were being made in the financial sector to revive the economy and transition it to a free market. This reform resulted in the creation of private commercial banks. Twenty years later, the rate was 1,374 MNT for one USD. It reached 2,000 MNT by the beginning of 2016, and is now fluctuating at around 2,400 MNT.

We had an open economy where there were no restrictions for people to travel abroad, or to conduct trade and business activities. As the private sector developed, the economy kept expanding. However, the tugrug has continuously been in decline.

Mongolia's population is as small as three million. This rules out the development of heavy industry, which means we have to import a lot of materials from other countries, except for food products and some construction materials. We must have foreign currency in order to import goods and services. Where we get most of our foreign currency from is the export of minerals such as coal, copper, and gold. The total value of our imports outweighs how much we are exporting. Hence, our balance of trade always tends to come up negative.

We have been acquiring foreign loans and increasing our imports significantly since 2012. It did not take long before foreign investment in the mining industry  declined. It reduced the USD in market circulation and caused the tugrug to weaken.


If we look at the long-term numbers, dollar rates have continuously gone up. Mongolians express frustration only in the short-term, when there is a sudden hike in exchange rates. When it happens, our government (which fully controls the market and sets prices by issuing decrees) reacts by telling Mongol Bank (Bank of Mongolia) to quickly sell dollars and stop the exchange rate surge.

Presidents of Mongol Bank have always been appointed through political affiliations. Therefore, instead of complying with the law and operating independently, they do what the government says and take temporary measures by injecting dollars into the market from the foreign exchange reserve. When the reserve runs low, they make up for the deficit by acquiring short term CNY loans through swap deals. The government and Mongol Bank have been acting like an ostrich that thinks it can disappear by putting its head in the sand.

Statistics from Mongol Bank show that they had the largest amount of foreign assets in December 2012, when the Chinggis Bonds were issued. At the time, Mongolia's foreign assets and net foreign assets were 5.7 and 5.2 billion MNT respectively. Two years later, in October 2014, Mongol Bank's net foreign assets were negative for the first time in history. Having run out of reserves, there was a need to borrow enough foreign currency to cover the cost of three months of imports.

Since then, Mongol Bank's net foreign assets have always been negative. As of October 2016, the net foreign assets and foreign assets were -1.5 and -2.4 billion MNT (one billion USD at today's rates).

On November 11, the tugrug rate against the dollar soared from 2,350 to 2,700 MNT. Parliament responded by pushing the government, which forced Mongol Bank to inject 72 million USD into the market. This short-term measure reduced the rate to 2,400 MNT, but forced the hand of the President of Mongol Bank to dip into their already very low reserves.

The primary responsibility of Mongol Bank is not to ensure the stability of exchange rates, but to hold the inflation rate under a specific level. The reason why is that exchange rates are dependent on not only monetary policy but also many other macroeconomic factors. There can be a short-term measure to sell dollars from the reserve in order to prevent sudden and significant tugrug decline, however, the President of Mongol Bank ought to demand that the government reduce its spending.

It looks like J.Erdenebat's government will act like previous cabinets and handle the exchange rate by digging deeper into the foreign currency reserves. The new government and the new leadership of Mongol Bank are singing the same old song.

Nevertheless, the song cannot always be sung, because reserves will soon run out.


The tugrug decline and the dollar hike in the economy are just like body temperature rising with a fever. In this sense, we can only get rid of the illness by determining what caused it and applying the correct treatment.

Developed countries act like people who have a healthy lifestyle and take appropriate actions to prevent illness. In many instances, they manage to do this. However, Mongolia has not established these habits yet.

What caused Mongolia's chronic disease is that our political institutions now serve specific groups, especially themselves, instead of making the public's interests a priority. The main purpose of Mongolia's ruling political parties is to retain power. For this reason, they have always conducted short-sighted policies.

Our economic institutions, such as Mongol Bank, have become completely dependent on political institutions, and would rather protect their interests by acquiring loans to make the government look like it has money to spend. Instead of restricting loans, Mongol Bank has been printing money in large amounts and implementing populist, unachievable programs. This has put the country into huge debt. Other economic institutions have also started protecting the interests of their political institutions. For example, all economic institutions that have been involved in raising international loans have been serving specific political groups. It is barring Mongolians from doing business and selling services with foreign currency.

Today, a false expectation has been set in society, where people think international loans can solve everything. The reality is, that regardless of whatever loans we might acquire, we will always have its burden of debt.

The tugrug can only grow stronger if we produce globally competitive products. In order to reach such a state, we need to firmly establish the rule of law, increase our economic competitiveness, and find and eradicate corruption that occurs when foreign financing is distributed and loaned to internal institutions.

Translated by B.Amar

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METALS-Copper drops while lead, zinc slip from peaks as rally loses steam

* Industrial metals tumble on fears rally was overstretched

* Oil slides, equities stall as risk appetite wanes

* GRAPHIC-2016 metal returns: (Updates with closing prices)

LONDON, Nov 29 (Reuters) ead and zinc fell more than 6 percent on Tuesday from the previous day's multi-year peaks, as sliding oil prices and perceptions that a post-U.S. election rally had become overstretched prompted selling.

Industrial metals surged earlier this month on speculation that U.S. president-elect Donald Trump's pledge to lift infrastructure spending could boost demand, but the sharpness of their run higher has left markets vulnerable to correction.

Lead and zinc in particular rallied on Monday, but struggled to maintain gains in the face a more than 4 drop in oil prices, which tempered appetite for assets seen as higher risk, such as industrial metals.

London Metal Exchange lead closed down 6.7 percent at $2,354 a tonne, its biggest one-day drop in more than five years, while zinc ended the day down 6.6 percent at $2,710, its biggest daily fall since Nov. 2010.

"Today we're seeing some risk-off mood -- just look at oil prices," Commerzbank analyst Daniel Briesemann said. "(So) we're seeing some profit taking after the sharp price rises."

"Yesterday zinc marked a nine-year high, and lead rose to its highest level in more than five years," he said. "The move was too fast and too furious, and there is still correction potential."

Lead is still up 14 percent this month, its biggest monthly rise since April last year. With few signs of a change in its usage profile and little evidence of tightening supply, its rise has raised concerns that it has been caught up in a speculative wave sweeping across commodities.

The International Lead and Zinc Study Group (ILZSG) recently forecast a modest 2.8 percent rise in global demand for refined lead this year.

Copper closed down 3 percent at $5,705 a tonne, having touched its highest since June 2015 at $6,045.50 on Monday.

"We get the impression that the price move as of late, especially in copper, was a bit exaggerated," Julius Baer's head of commodities research Norbert Ruecker said.

"We have a cautious view, especially because of the expectations that were built into prices on president-elect Trump's infrastructure stimulus."

Even a big increase in U.S. infrastructure spending would do little to lift overall demand, Ruecker said, while supply remains plentiful.

"The ramp-up that we've seen so far this year on the production side ... was the predominant topic for the market ahead of the election," he said. "That theme should not have disappeared."

Nickel also fell more than 5 percent to a low of $10,995 a tonne, and ended the day down 4.7 percent at $11,085.

Aluminium closed 1.5 percent lower at $1,721, while tin closed down 2.3 percent at $20,575.

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Is Dr. Copper Burning Out?Seeking Alpha, November 28

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Thermal coal retreat takes wind out of surging iron ore prices

November 29 (The Australian) Excitement about iron ore prices cracking $US80 a tonne for the first time in more than two years has been tempered by the sharp retreat in thermal coal prices in response to China lifting restrictions on its domestic industry.

For Australia's export earnings and profitability of the mining sector, the spectacular rise in iron ore prices — from a low of $US39.30 a tonne in January to $US80.83 in the latest trading session, as measured by Bloomberg — is the most important factor given annual export volumes of about 850 million tonnes.

But thoughts Australia could win a trifecta of stronger prices for the bulk commodities of iron ore, coking coal and thermal coal have been dashed, with the latter retreating from a mid-November peak of $US110 a tonne to less than $US94.

The 14.5 per cent fall would represent a revenue loss of $US3.2 billion ($4.3bn) over a full year for thermal coal producers, the biggest of which include London-listed diversified resources group Glencore and pure coal producer ASX-listed Whitehaven.

Whitehaven shares fell 8c, or 2.8 per cent, to $2.76. The shares have now fallen 41c, or 13 per cent, since reaching $3.17 earlier this month when thermal coal reached $US110 a tonne, up from last year's average of $US59.

Whitehaven's fall comes despite an increasing amount of coking coal production in its mix. Coking coal prices have remained at more than $US300 a tonne — up 46 per cent so far this year — as Chinese steelmakers chase higher steel spreads.

Macquarie's commodities desk said last week's announcement of new coal production-loosening measures in China, which were more skewed towards coking coal than the previous thermal coal measures, should ­result in more Chinese domestic production.

"Chinese coking coal producers are now signing term deals with steel mills that should ease buyer panic, while supply disruptions at Anglo's Grasstree and South32's Appin operations have been resolved,'' Macquarie said.

"As a result, we expect spot hard coking coal prices to start easing, although the process might be more gradual than the thermal coal fall.''

Macquarie said it expected "further downside to thermal coal pricing from here and look at about $US70 a tonne as guidance level'', which the Chinese government would be happy with as the country heads into winter.

Thermal coal's run to $US110 a tonne had much to do with earlier Chinese restrictions that saw mines told to pull back from a 330-days-a-year production run rate to 276 days.

Thermal coal's retreat makes it the only major industrial commodity price to incur a sustained price fall since the US election, with Donald Trump's promise to "rebuild America'' having a positive rub-off effect across the commodities complex.

Among the metals that could benefit from the infrastructure spend are zinc, which has shot to a nine-year high, and copper, at a 2½-year high. Zinc could be put to the test ­tomorrow when Glencore has its investor day in London.

In response to low prices, Glencore shut in as much as 500,000 tonnes of annual production, much of it at its Australian zinc operations.

Any hint of a quick return of the shut-in production would gut prices. Zinc was friendless at US66c a pound in January but has since powered ahead to $US1.27 a pound.

Glencore chief executive Ivan Glasenberg is a fan of leaving metal in the ground if market prices do not provide a decent return.

As a result, any return of shut-in production by Glencore is expected to be modest.

Other local zinc miners and developers are hoping Mr Glasenberg clears the air on zinc tomorrow.

That is because their share ­prices have not responded as yet to the surge in prices for the galvanzing metal.

Copper has rallied in the past month from about $US2.20 a pound to $US2.60 a pound.

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Gold Regains Ground as Dollar Weakens

Prices for the precious metal have fallen almost 7% this month

November 29 (WSJ) Gold prices pared losses Tuesday, as the dollar weakened.

Gold for February closed down 0.3% at $1,190.80 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices hit $1,182.60 earlier in the session.

The WSJ Dollar Index, which tracks the U.S. currency against a selection of others, was recently down 0.1% at 91.39. Gold is denominated in the U.S. currency and becomes more affordable to foreign investors when the dollar depreciates.

Prices for the precious metal remained under pressure, however, as strong U.S. data sustained expectations that the Federal Reserve will lift rates next month.

U.S. home prices have climbed back above the record reached more than a decade ago, a report showed Tuesday. Federal-funds futures, used to bet on central-bank policy, on Tuesday showed that investors assigned a 96.3% likelihood of a rate increase at the Federal Reserve's meeting in December.

Expectations of higher rates tend to hurt gold, which struggles to compete with yield-bearing investments when rates rise.

"Much of gold's future performance depends on what the Federal Reserve will say at their meeting next month," said Bart Melek, head of commodities research at TD Securities. "A hawkish outlook would not be particularly good for gold."

Prices for the precious metal have fallen almost 7% this month, weighed upon by a rising dollar, rallying stock markets and fading political uncertainty that have sapped investors' desire for safe haven investments.

Some investors, however, believe that there is enough political risk ahead to keep gold prices from falling much further. Market participants are bracing for Italy's referendum on constitutional reform, scheduled for Dec. 4. A rejection of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's proposals to overhaul Italy's political institutions could destabilize the country's politics, with potential ramifications for its fragile banking system and the European economy, analysts said.

Austria will hold presidential elections on the same day.

"Rising political risk in the form of the weekend's pivotal European events ... has helped the precious metal avoid any further breakdown," wrote analysts at Accendo Markets.

Silver for March delivery was up 0.4% at $16.74 a troy ounce. January platinum was down 0.2% at $921.30 a troy ounce. March palladium was up 1% at $766.25 a troy ounce.

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OPEC Discord Sends Oil Prices Lower

If cartel decides to abandon its pledge to cut output, analysts say oil prices will be hit hard in the short term

November 29 (WSJ) Oil prices fell Tuesday, with market participants unconvinced that OPEC will reach a deal to cut production at the Wednesday meeting.

Anticipation of action to limit output has boosted the crude market in recent weeks. But comments from officials ahead of the meeting sowed doubts over the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' ability to come to an agreement.

Light, sweet crude futures for January delivery declined $1.85, or 3.9%, to $45.23 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, a two-week low. Brent, the global benchmark, lost $1.86, or 3.9%, at $46.38 a barrel.

"With member delegations already gathered in Vienna ahead of tomorrow's formal meeting, it is increasingly clear that key divisions still remain," said Robbie Fraser, commodity analyst at Schneider Electric, in a Tuesday note.

Oil ministers from Indonesia and Iran expressed some reluctance to commit to a production cut Tuesday, sparking concerns over a contentious meeting and a potential deadlock. Indonesia's oil minister said his country hadn't decided yet whether to join production cuts and that he had "a mixed feeling" about the gathering's outcome.

Iran's oil minister said he intends to follow production plans previously set that would make the country exempt from output cuts. Germany's Commerzbank said the main hurdle for the meeting will be Saudi Arabia's insistence that Iran cap production at 3.7 million barrels a day. Tehran is insisting on a cap of around 3.97 million barrels a day.

Goldman Sachs analysts said the oil market is reflecting at 30% probability that the cartel will come to a deal on Wednesday.

Sentiment has reversed substantially compared with a week ago, creating extreme volatility in the market, said Donald Morton, senior vice president at Herbert J. Sims Co., who runs an energy-trading desk.

"Wall Street has completely flip flopped," Mr. Morton said. "I've never seen so many changes in opinion in such a short period of time."

In September, OPEC agreed on targets that would have translated into production cuts of 200,000 to 700,000 barrels a day. Analysts say if the Wednesday meeting ends inconclusively, oil prices could fall to as low as $35 a barrel.

Most observers agree Saudi Arabia does want a swift resolution, but Iran will likely wait until the formal meeting is under way before the country's negotiators show their hand.

Olivier Jakob, at Switzerland-based Petromatrix, believes the delay is helping Russia avoid agreeing to any production freeze before the formal meeting gets under way.

"Saudi Arabia would probably have liked an early agreement before the meeting in order to present a special combo package of an OPEC cut and a freeze from Russia," Mr. Jakob said. "It is interesting to note that the Russian and the Iranian president made public that they held a phone conversation yesterday to discuss, among other things, the OPEC meeting."

One of the key hurdles for the production accord is Russia, which isn't a member of OPEC. Russia has indicated it is only interested in holding production at 11.2 million barrels a day. A freeze, it said, is essentially a reduction because it planned to increase output next year.

OPEC will also struggle to nail down production quotas for member nations as several countries—such as Nigeria and Libya—have requested exemptions because their oil production and exports have been hurt by militant attacks. In addition, OPEC doesn't have the authority to make members comply with their production assignments.

If OPEC decides to abandon its pledge to cut output, oil prices will be hit hard in the short term. However, Bjarne Schieldrop, from SEB bank, said the market was likely to shrug off the setback and oil will likely trade back to around $48 a barrel by the end of 2016.

"Higher oil prices means non-OPEC producers will be more encouraged to drill for more oil, which will increase global supply and prices will be depressed again," said Gao Jian, an energy analyst at SCI International.

In the U.S., where many oil producers were forced out of the market when prices dropped below $40 a barrel, there are signs of resilience. The latest forecasts from the U.S. Energy Department show domestic crude production is likely to hit 8.7 million barrels a day in 2017, which is 100,000 barrels a day higher than the previous estimate.

Production elsewhere is also climbing. North Sea producers, who have been troubled by rising costs and high taxes, recently increased output to a three-year high. That shows that any OPEC agreement would have a limited impact on the global crude glut, said Hamza Khan, head of commodity strategy at ING Bank.

"The whole concept is so silly," Mr. Khan added. "If one part of the world cuts, supply will come online in other parts of the world...and it will come on very quickly."

Market players will also focus on the weekly U.S. inventory forecast from the American Petroleum Institute Tuesday, ahead of Wednesday's official data from the Energy Information Administration. With OPEC hogging the headlines, though, trading around the U.S. statements is likely to be less active this week.

Gasoline futures were down 2.5% at $1.3771 a gallon, and diesel futures were down 3.3% at $1.4627 a gallon.

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Politics & Legal

Former MP A. Tleikhan Appointed Chairman of Energy Regulatory Commission

Ulaanbaatar, November 29 (MONTSAME) A former parliament member, A.Tleikhan has been appointed the Chairman of the Energy Regulatory Commission. He has just taken his office and seal. A.Tleikhan has worked in the energy sector for 32 years.

A.Tleikhan graduated from the National University of Mongolia (also known as the Mongolian State University) majoring in heat supply engineering in 1976, and the Economics School majoring in industrial economics in 1989.

He has defended doctor's thesis on management, and is a consultant engineer.

A.Tleikhan worked between 1977 and 1995 as operator, chief engineer, director of unit, chief operational officer and the chief executive officer at the Third Power Plant of the Central Energy System. He was appointed the director of Investment and Technological Renovation Center of the Third Power Plant.

Between 1996 and 2002, he worked in the Energy Management Authority as the sales manager, the head of administration division and the Director of Management and Administration Office.

In 2002-2008, he worked in the Petroleum and Energy Authority as the Director of Management and Administration Office and deputy director of Energy Research and Development Center.

He was elected to the parliament in 2008, worked as the head of the Standing committee on Social policy, culture and sciences, and was re-elected in 2012.

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92th Anniversary of Proclamation of Mongolian Republic Marked

Ulaanbaatar, November 26 (MONTSAME) Mongolia is celebrating today the 92nd anniversary of Proclamation of Republic and adoption of the first Constitution of Mongolia. The heads of legislature and government, along with the parliament members, laid wreaths in front of the Statue to D.Sukhbaatar.

Namely, the Chairman of the State Great Khural, Mr M.Enkhbold and the Prime Minister, Mr J.Erdenebat and the Chief of the Cabinet Secretariat, Mr J.Munkhbat were present.

The historic anniversary is being commemorated solemnly as a public holiday. The Government Palace hosted 800 high school students taking the Citizen's Oath.

Avarga (title - meaning Champion) Ch.Sanjaadamba won the competition of 256 wrestlers in honor of the historic anniversary.

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Prime minister speaks to Mongolia's newest citizens about their future

By T. Bayarbat

November 27 (UB Post) Eight hundred students representing the 49,892 children turning 16 years old in 2016 came together at Independence Palace to take civic oaths on Saturday. Under the auspices of the Prime Minister, the Mongolian Youth Federation has organized the annual civic oath ceremony for the past 14 years to present oath takers with official citizenship and state identity cards.

Prime Minister J.Erdenebat, Minister of Labor and Social Protection N.Nomtoibayar, and representatives from the government, sports, and the arts attended the event.

In Prime Minister J.Erdenebat's address to the students, he said that he hopes the students own up to their responsibilities by taking Mongolia's future into their hands, being highly motivated, self-confident, and engaging in selfmanagement and learning about Mongolia's rich history from their elders.

He highlighted that youth development is one of the central points of the 2016-2020 government action plan, and that a lot of projects will be implemented over the next four years, including establishing a child and youth development authority. The Prime Minister also said that the youth should work together to have prospects for a better life, and that it's their turn to hold the torch for Mongolia's future.

PM J.Erdenebat pointed out that success without hardwork, struggle, and selfmotivation is almost impossible, so Mongolia's young generation has to be eager to learning, set powerful goals to achieve their dreams, and aspire to determine their own bright future.

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"Winter" handcuffs - goes on display

November 29 ( In a country where winter temperatures can fall to below -45 deg C, being detained by the police can be a painful experience, as the handcuffs can freeze. But, change may be in store for Mongolian criminals and offenders ...the "eco handcuff".

The unique exhibit has gone on display at the Law Enforcement University of Mongolia. The "eco handcuff" has no negative effect and does not freeze the suspect's wrists. In scope of the 95th anniversary of the establishment of the Mongolian Science Institute, the university has celebrated 'Science Day'.

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UN torture prevention experts announce visits to Panama, Mongolia and Spain

GENEVA, 29 November 2016 (OHCHR) – Panama, Mongolia and Spain are among the countries that the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) plans to visit in 2017 to assess the treatment of people deprived of their liberty, as well as the measures taken for their protection against torture and ill-treatment.

Under the SPT's mandate, members may make unannounced visits to any places where people are or may be deprived of their liberty, including prisons, police stations, centres for migrants, security services, interrogation facilities and psychiatric hospitals. In addition, the SPT provides advice to national authorities on the establishment of national detention monitoring bodies, known as National Preventive Mechanisms (NPM). It also cooperates and assists the NPMs on their functioning.

The next phase of the SPT visiting programme was finalized during its latest session which also marked the 10th anniversary of the entry into force of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT).

In the last 10 years, SPT members have made more than 50 visits, delivering recommendations that improved the efficiency of the NPMs. This has led to better access to legal representation and information for detainees, including children, improved conditions of detention as well as to better training for judges, police, prison staff and health professionals.

"Under the OPCAT, the SPT has a unique mandate to protect detainees against torture and ill treatment. No other institution has the same leverage globally. In its 10 years, SPT changed the reality of detainees in 83 countries and we hope that this is just a start and that more countries will accept its mandate by ratifying the OPCAT," said SPT Chair Malcolm Evans.

During its latest session, the SPT has also decided to add Nauru to the list of countries that have failed to establish a national detention monitoring body within four years of ratification. The list is currently composed of: Argentina, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Chile, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Lebanon, Liberia, Nigeria and Panama.

In the coming months, the SPT will also visit: Hungary, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bolivia and Rwanda.

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Emerging Subjects' Second Advisory Board Meeting: Features of Mongolian Capitalism

By Rebecca Empson

28 November 2016 (UCL) On the 15th November, 2016, we held our Second Advisory Board Meeting at the Club Coworking space, in the ICC Tower, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

This time our Advisory Board was tasked with presenting three features that they think defines capitalism in Mongolia today. Each person was asked to speak for 20 mins or so on their themes, followed by heated questions and intense discussion. The day was divided by lunch at Maggiano, and lasted from 10am until 5pm.

The topic of discussion was a fitting prelude to our conference on Mongolian-made Capitalism, which took place the following day at the Mongolian-Japan Centre (which we will post about shortly). The gathering was also a chance to ask our Advisory Board about current economic and political changes in Mongolia and raise questions that have arisen since our fieldwork, which started a year and a half ago.

Once again, we felt incredibly lucky to be able to hear such varied opinion and expert insight from such a diverse group of people, representing so many different sectors of society.

There is a real sense that our research is guided by their advice as much as providing food for thought for further elaboration. Many of the Advisory Board also attended the conference the next day and participated in it.

In order to honour our commitment that everything spoken about in the meeting remains anonymous we have decided to list the features that were discussed below, but not identify them with any individual. We hope that this will provide some food for thought, and also perhaps, in the future, a historical record of how people at this moment perceive the political and economic climate in Mongolia.

Three Features of Mongolian Capitalism – November 2016

1.     The power of networks dominates everything

2.    Capitalism in Mongolia defies market principles – especially property regimes

3.    Wealth above all else is valued

1.    The extractive industry is a dependent economy

2.    Oligarchical governance

3.    Neocolonialism, or the country is a neo-colony to multinational companies and economic powers such as USA, China, Canada, Netherlands and Australia.

1.    Lack of information, knowledge and education of the rural population

2.    Violence toward rural women

3.    Influence of election in the rural regions

1.    Relationship between Mongolia, China and Russia (transport corridor etc.)

2.    Mongolia's third neighbours

3.    Symbolic representation of Mongolia, China and Russia as Mazalai, Panda and Bear.

1.    Two parties play with the nation's resource wealth

2.    The political parties and the rich have become the heads of the state

3.    Rulers and ruling institutions are buying the state and state assets through the management of parties

1.    The state is captured by non-transparent business (Erdenbilegism: a new phenomenon in Mongolia's democracy)

2.    Semi-capitalist society (Marching back to socialism)

3.    Too large government (Fakestan)

1.    Law implementation: common problem that occurs frequently is we have many world-standard legal frameworks, but lack implementation. Here, people who are supposed to enforce the law could be well-informed or ill-suited, or some legal aspects are just not compatible with our level of development (i.e. anti-smoking law).

2.    Organizational check-and-balance: frequently, the balance between key organizations in the public sector is biased or leaned toward one side, so that, at the end of day, human factors define performance results. Thus, at some point, one organization becomes very active or powerful, it may seem our policy is focused on that part. Then, sometimes within the organization, an individual 's decision could be implemented unchecked.

3.    The extent of public sector involvement in the market: we've seen some back-and-forth thinking in terms of where the line should be drawn for the government to be involved in the markets. In the 90s popular thinking was laissez-faire economy, which is now transformed into more public involvement to regulate parts of the economy. It's always in flux, a fight about where the balance should be (think of banking sector, which was freely regulated, but now might become our Achilles hill).

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Mongolian Business Database: MBD Missions Abroad in 2017

November 29 (Mongolian Business Database) Mongolian Business Database (MBD) will host the following trade missions to the target destinations.

-       Feb: "High technology and start up business ecosystem" workshop & business program in Jerusalem, Israel with Innocon Valley based in Finland

-       March 19-25: "Accounting business international standard" expo & Business program in Sydney, Australia with Mongolian Honorary General Consul in Sydney

-       April 03-09: "The 6th Mongolia London Business Forum" & Business program in London, UK with Mongolian British Chamber of Commerce

-       April 14-21: "NAMBC's 27th AGM & Investors Forum" & Business program in Washington DC with North America and Mongolia Business Council

-       May 09- 16 "Agriculture and Livestock farming best practices" expo and Business program in Brno and Prague, Czech Republic with the Embassy of the Czech Republic in UB.

-       July: "Doing Business with Mongolia" seminars in Helsinki, Finland and Stockholm, Sweden (Scandinavian Countries) with Innocon Valley based in Finland

Please save the date in your 2017 business calendar if/when you ll interested to participate on of these events.

Mongolian Business Database (MBD) is an agency which promotes foreign and domestic company's specific/particular business interest in foreign and local market and organize the B2B events in order to make the deal achieves to the reality.

MBD recently hosted Mongolian trade mission to Mongolian British Chamber of Commerce's "Doing Business with Mongolia" seminar and business program in London in Nov last year and Oct this year, "International Franchising Expo and the special training in Sydney in March and May 2016 with Mongolian Honorary and General Counsel in Sydney, NAMBC's Investors conference in Ottawa in May 2016 and Mongolian trade mission for International Festival for Business in Liverpool in end of June this year by the authorization of UK Embassy in UB and Liverpool Mayor's office.

MBD Admin

Galaxy Tower 1003

Tel: 77109911,98994787,99066062

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Holiday Inn Opens in Ulaanbaatar

Ulaanbaatar, November 29 (MONTSAME) The Max Group has opened the first Mongolian branch of the Holiday Inn franchise in Ulaanbaatar. A cooperation agreement thereon between Max Group and Intercontinental Hotels Group was signed in June, 2015.

The Max Group has constructed 20-storey building for 169-room hotel and launched its operations meeting international standards.

The Holiday Inn Ulaanbaatar offers recreational facilities, including Techno Gym equipped fitness room, spa, beauty salon, sauna, and business facilities such as conference halls capable of receiving up to 250 people.

On the occasion of the opening ceremony, the leaders of Max Group has opened savings accounts for 30 orphans with MNT 500,000 respectively. This charity work has been going on since 2011, having opened savings accounts for 150 children from orphanages. Some of the account holders has already turned 18 years old and have been sending gratitude letters to the Max Group with appreciations that their savings had afforded them to purchase accommodations.

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AmCham Mongolia Hosts Its 2016 Annual General Meeting

ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia, November 24 -- The American Chamber of Commerce in Mongolia (AmCham) held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Wednesday, November 23, 2016, with U.S. Ambassador to Mongolia the Honorable Jennifer Zimdahl Galt, over 50 of AmCham's members, and other leaders of the business community. During the AGM, AmCham members discussed, voted on, and set the priorities and directions of the organization for 2017, and elected several new members to the Board of Directors.

Seven candidates competed for the three open seats on the Board of Directors and Mr. E. Dolgion, CEO of Bloomberg TV Mongolia; Mr. Erik Versavel, Country Representative for ING Mongolia; and Mr. S. Esentsengel, Deputy Executive Director for MCS Holding were elected to serve on AmCham's Board of  Directors in 2017.

Jay Liotta, Chairman of AmCham Mongolia, delivered opening remarks and said, "2016 was a flagship year for the American Chamber of Commerce in Mongolia, having recruited 13 new members, hosted 33 events, and issued 6 position papers while becoming the first business organization to host both former and current Prime Ministers of Mongolia, the new Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the new Vice Minister of Finance. In 2017, AmCham will work toward building on the groundwork we laid in 2016 and achieving concrete results for our members and Mongolia."

Following the Chairman's remarks, U.S. Ambassador to Mongolia Jennifer Zimdahl Galt delivered keynote remarks and noted, "As we highlight the robust U.S-Mongolia partnership throughout 2017, we look forward to continuing to work closely with AmCham to advance our shared priorities. I eagerly anticipate the further strengthening of our already strong partnership in the new year, and look forward to exploring new avenues of cooperation."

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AmCham Daily Newswire for November 29, 2016


Democratic Party asks for budget revisions and to delay discussion of the Development Bank investigation

Summary: Parliament's Democratic Party Caucus held a press conference regarding the state budget, the revised bill on domestic abuse and the findings of an  investigation of Development Bank. Member of Parliament Z. Narantuya stated, "The Democratic Party asked for  lower expenditure and for the deficit to be reduced as much as possible in next year's budget. The deficit could have been lowered to 6.8%, but it was lowered from 9.9% to 9.1% of GDP. The Cabinet must work tirelessly to find ways to lower the budget deficit. The DP believes that the budget deficit has not been sufficiently lowered and we hold the view that the budget deficit needs to be lowered further, and to not allow any unnecessary expenses." Vice Chair of the DP Caucus D. Purevdorj stated that the DP has asked to postpone the discussion of the findings of an investigation of Development Bank by one week, due to the fact that DP has not yet received the findings. D. Purevdorj stated, "The MPP only discusses the minor violations of Development Bank but never the major ones. Around 60% of loans issued by Development Bank went to the companies of MPP members." The Chair of the DP Caucus, S. Erdene, noted that the party has sent a formal letter to Cabinet regarding the lack of appointed officials in two provinces and in one district of Ulaanbaatar after the local elections. 

Keywords: Democratic Party, Development Bank, state budget -- The Century News /page 2/

New head of the Energy Regulatory Commission appointed

Summary: Yesterday, Former Member of Parliament A. Tleihan was officially appointed Head of the Energy Regulatory Commission. A. Tleihan was twice elected a Member of Parliament, has served as an advisory engineer, and has worked in the energy sector for 32 years. The Energy Regulatory Commission is responsible for the regulation, generation, transmission, distribution, dispatch, and supply of energy, and for overseeing the financial and economic health of the sector. The Energy Regulatory Commission is responsible for protecting the rights of consumers and creating fair competition among energy creators and suppliers. 

Keywords: Energy Regulatory Commission, Parliament, energy -- The National Post/page 2/


Mineral Resource Authority to increase its focus on attracting investment

Summary: The Head of the Mineral Resource Authority of Mongolia, B. Baatartsogt, noted that Mongolia has been ranked 85th out of 150 nations in mining sector investment appeal by the Fraser Institute. The Natural Resource Governance Institute ranked Mongolia 25th out of 55 countries in development of the mining sector. B. Baatartsogt said, "In order to attract FDI, we must pay special attention to these rankings and improve our competitiveness." Many companies have suffered losses because provinces have rejected exploration licenses submitted by the Mineral Resource Authority, but B. Baatartsogt stated, "The licenses approved by the Mineral Resource Authority should be valid in the provinces, as it is a decision made at the government level. The coordination between state organizations and the legal environment must improve. On the other hand, it is up to investors to cooperate with the local residents in provinces. This year 9.3 billion MNT will be spent on basic geological research, and a similar amount is planned for next year's operations. Exploration licenses will be granted by tender and we will announce the news next month. We are planning to increase the areas permitted for exploration, and starting in the first quarter of next year, we are expecting to receive tender offers. Currently, there are 2,100 exploration licenses and we are planning to increase the number of licenses by at least 15 -20%. By increasing the number of licenses, we will attract FDI and have thorough knowledge of the natural resources on our land."   

Keywords: investment, mining. Mineral Resource Authority -- The Official Gazette /page 11/


1.1 billion MNT to be allocated to provinces suffering from harsh winter conditions

Summary: The government will allocate 1.1 billion MNT from the government's reserve fund for transportation to provide medical services and to clear roads in provinces with harsh winter conditions. The Deputy Prime Minister will be responsible for establishing a temporary emergency management site in Khuvsgul Province. As of today, snow covers 70% of the nation, and in some areas the snow is 9 to 13 inch deep, and in trenches, snow is 15 to 35 inches deep. International and professional organizations report that 13 provinces, 53 soums, and Ulaanbaatar's Nalaikh District are experiencing harsh winter conditions, and the situation could worsen for 38 soums.

Keywords: emergency management, agriculture --

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Big Firms and Their Far-Flung Offices: Hogan Lovells in Mongolia

Off the Grid

November 22 (American Lawyer) --


Hogan Lovells partner Chris Melville is getting used to the weather in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, which can plunge to 40 degrees below.

Melville spent years working for the firm in Moscow beginning in 1999. He said that the legal frontier in Russia was similar to present-day Mongolia. "That was when people were making agreements on just three pages, and when I came here, it was not much different than that," says Melville, who arrived in April 2012, a year after the office opened, and became the office managing partner in 2014. Another English-qualified counsel and six Mongolian lawyers have joined Melville in the lone Am Law 100 office in the country.

While Melville, a native of Scotland, speaks English and a bit of Russian, he doesn't know Mongolian. His wife, a native of Mongolia who speaks five languages, helps with that. The couple is raising their 3-year-old in the nation's capital.

Operating in Mongolia requires a keen understanding of political connections, which can make or break the big infrastructure projects on which the firm advises, Melville says. With Mongolia landlocked between China, a purchaser of much of the country's raw commodities, and Russia, which sells Mongolia much of its electricity, Mongolian projects often become a tightrope walk between the local powers' interests.

"Above a certain level, almost every project will tend to get politicized," Melville says. "So it's very important to get government support for every project you're working on; otherwise there's a chance it might not happen. "The firm's presence helps its lawyers gain expertise navigating the politics, Melville says.

The firm has issued legal opinions in Mongolia, mostly for financing large projects. In April, the firm represented the Mongolian government on local law issues concerning its issuance of $500 million in sovereign bonds, the country's first bond issuance since 2012.

With an economy reeling from the global drop in commodities prices, the Mongolian government in September asked the International Monetary Fund for a bailout. The country has long-term debt running around $23 billion, nearly double its $12 billion annual GDP.

But Melville is optimistic that foreign investors from South Korea, Japan and elsewhere will see Mongolia as a land of opportunity. His team has represented Japanese banks that lend to the Mongolian government.

As a partner in Moscow, Melville helped Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov get approval from the National Basketball Association to buy the New Jersey Nets. Basketball is popular in Mongolia, but he doesn't see a Mongolian magnate doing the same. "I think the possibility of someone here buying a team like the Nets will be some way off," Melville says. "But there are some guys here with a lot of money, so I wouldn't rule it out."


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The Times Are They A-Changin' in Mongolia? Green Development as an Opportunity in Times of Economic Downturn

28 November 2016, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia (PAGE) - Mongolia is known for its pristine nature, clear lakes and rolling hills. On a Thursday morning in November this beauty seems far away. Ulaanbaatar city is covered in smog; people crossing the street wear masks. Concentrations of fine particulate matter reach 645 μg/m3 – 25 times higher than what the World Health Organization qualifies as acceptable. 80% of the winter air pollution is attributed to the burning of coal.

"We need to move our economy from brown to green!" exclaims Ms. D. Oyunkhorol, Minister of Environment and Tourism at a high-level event at the Government House. "Air pollution is causing lung cancer and respiratory diseases with significant costs for our public health system", she adds. It's not just the environment community that is calling for action to address pressing challenges such as rapidly increasing carbon emissions, declining water resources and uncontrolled use of chemicals. The event under the theme 'Mongolia's Pathway to Sustainable Development' is jointly hosted by the Ministry of Finance (MOF), the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET), the Prime Minister's Office, and the Economic Standing Committee of the Mongolian Parliament.

Ms. B. Lakshmi, Director of the Economic Policy and Competitiveness Research Center (EPRCR), a local think tank, highlights that green investments make sense from an economic perspective. "We have evidence that by investing only 2% of GDP in green development, growth levels could be sustained at 4.2% compared to 2.4% under a business-as-usual scenario", she emphasizes. The numbers are based on a study supported by the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) in collaboration with MOF and MET. "The job potential of a green economy in Mongolia is also significant", Ms. E. Erdenesan, Director of the Economic Statistics Department of the National Statistics Office (NSO) stresses. Since 2014, NSO with support of PAGE has started to collect information on green jobs as part of the National Labour Force Survey. The data shows that 33.1% of jobs in Mongolia are in environmental sectors, but only 10% are green jobs, i.e. environmentally-sustainable and decent.

The banking sector in Mongolia is already actively supporting green investments. Mr. Orkhon Onon, President of the Mongolian Bankers Association (MBA) explains: "All our members have introduced a set of sustainable finance principles, integrating environmental and social risk assessments in their lending and investment operations. We are now working on the establishment of a green credit fund." A new initiative – the UN Environment Inquiry – is going even a step further. "Dedicated finance for green projects is important, but to really bring about the change we need, we have to look at the rules that govern the financial sector", claims Mr. Mark Halle, Senior Advisor to the Inquiry, speaking in front of 300 people at the Fourth Mongolian Sustainable Finance Forum on Friday.

While 'green' and 'sustainable' is in everybody's mouth, the new Government, which took office in mid-2016, is in a difficult situation. Public debt levels are reaching 90% of GDP and economic growth is down to 0.7% from 17% in 2011. The priority is to attract foreign investment and stabilize the economy. At the same time there is a realization that Mongolia needs to diversify its extractive-based economy to reduce vulnerability to fluctuations in global commodity markets and to ensure that growth is both inclusive and sustainable.

"Our message is: green investments can push economic growth, and social expenditures are needed to protect the 20% of the population that is still living under the poverty line", states Ms. Beate Trankmann, UN Resident Coordinator in Mongolia. "With the Sustainable Development Vision 2030 and the National Green Development Policy, Mongolia has an ambitious framework and is one of the early movers on the new 2030 Development Agenda. As the UN system we stand behind the Government to turn this ambitious vision into action."

By 2030 Mongolia "aspires to be amongst leading middle-income countries with stable and democratic governance and a multi-sector economy, which preserves ecological balance". Some of those that might be in charge by then are currently studying at Mongolian universities. Prof. Bat Buyantsogt from the National University of Mongolia highlights: "We need to build the capacity of those that will be the future decision-makers in government, businesses and civil society". 90,000 students are currently enrolled in national universities. PAGE is supporting the integration of green economy approaches into the curricula of tertiary institutions. A young professor of economics is volunteering to lead the work among departments of business administration. Are the times going to change in Mongolia?  "I want my children to live in a healthy environment; I believe we can make a difference", she says, putting on her mask to walk out into the grey cold.

About PAGE

The Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) has been working with the Government and a range of national stakeholders since 2013 to advance green development in Mongolia. The partnership brings together the expertise of five UN agencies - UNEPILOUNDPUNIDO and UNITAR, offering a comprehensive package of technical assistance and capacity building services.

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Austrade: Reforms aim to lure business interest in Mongolia

25 Nov 2016 (Austrade) Government reforms, proposed new infrastructure projects and improving market conditions in resource rich Mongolia are helping attract mining companies back to the market.

Mongolia's vast copper, gold and coal resources, particularly at its large Oyu Tolgoi (OT) and Tavan Tolgoi mines, are well known. Both mines fueled much of the country's early double digit growth, before falling commodity prices and investor confidence coupled with macro-economic factors curtailed growth and activity.

Amanda Hodges, Austrade's Seoul-based Senior Trade Commissioner for Korea and Mongolia, said the recently appointed government is implementing changes to restore investor confidence and enhance the mining sector which continues to dominate Mongolia's economy.

'Mongolia's new government, led by the Mongolian People's Party (MPP) elected in June 2016, has been focused on diversifying Mongolia's investment and trade partners,' said Hodges.

However, projects such as Mongolia's new airport, due for completion in 2017, are rejuvenating interest, given the significant foreign investment. Financing is being provided by Japan's Bank for International Cooperation and South Korea's Samsung C&T Corporation is operating as general assistant executor of the project.

'Other key projects announced, but yet to commence, include various road and rail projects and a fifth power plant has been proposed for Ulaanbaatar. With current supply at full capacity, a power station based at Tavan Tolgoi (coal mine) would help reduce the OT mine from dependence on China for power.'

Hodges said these activities and the proposed public-private partnership (PPP) project list being developed will potentially open increased opportunities for Australian businesses to consider.

There are many Australian mining business operating in Mongolia, especially Australia's world-class and highly regarded mining equipment, technology and services (METS) companies.

Currently, an estimated 200 Australian businesses have already provided services valued at more than $US83 million to the OT copper-gold mine in the South-Gobi region.

The OT mine, which provides the majority of the copper-gold ore in Mongolia, is a strategic partnership with Rio Tinto, a significant shareholder, who earlier this year announced its commitment to invest US$5.3 billion in Stage II of the OT mine.

Hodges said Rio Tinto's investment in Stage II of the OT mine is expected to present additional business opportunities for Australian METS suppliers, particularly in niche areas and in the provision of high-tech equipment and machinery.

Rio Tinto also aims to make OT a world class mine operation by introducing world's best mining practices in workplace health and safely, skills and training development, and create more than 5,000 skilled jobs. This could create opportunities for Australia's education and training providers.

'Australia has maintained a strong education relationship, with more than 20 years of Australian government post-graduate scholarships, Austrade has delivered an education exhibition for the past five years,' said Hodges.

'The September 2016 edition involved 27 Australian institutions and attracted over 2,200 visitors over two days, which was a 30 per cent increase over 2015.

'There is also potential to develop academic and commercial linkages between Australian and Mongolian higher education institutions,' added Hodges.

Australian companies can access Austrade's Mongolian Mining Projects report 2015 which provides a comprehensive guide for Australian METS exporters considering doing business in Mongolia.

Additional information about the business opportunities and exporting to Mongolia is available on Austrade's website.

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Mongolia and FAO set sights on South-South Cooperation to boost agricultural development

New agreement builds on successful exchanges with China

28 November 2016, Rome (FAO) - Mongolia and FAO will work more closely together to promote international partnerships and exchanges that support sustainable agriculture in the East Asian country, the UN agency said today.

A new agreement, signed by FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva and Mongolia's agriculture minister Purev Sergelen today, will strengthen the partnership between FAO and Mongolia on South-South and Triangular Cooperation -- a form of development partnership that boosts countries' agricultural capacity by linking their policy makers and producers with experts and technologies from around the world. This includes other emerging economies that have built special expertise in specific agricultural sectors.

FAO will support Mongolia in working with a wider array of global partners, such as international organizations, research institutions, governments and the private sector, to make Mongolia's food production more sustainable, strengthen its agribusiness and ensure lasting food security.

By bringing innovative approaches and tools to the country, these knowledge exchanges will benefit Mongolia's National Livestock Programme and other high priority national agricultural development programmes, along with policies that aim to improve farmers' incomes and living standards.

Building on previous success

The new agreement builds on two previous successful South-South exchanges between China and Mongolia that FAO helped establish between 2010 and 2016.

In the last two years alone, some 775 producers, traders and policy makers across Mongolia received in-country training from Chinese experts, and more than 20 high-level Mongolian officials and experts participated in study tours to China, where they visited agricultural institutions, relevant farms and enterprises.

These multi-year exchange projects improved animal breeding, beekeeping, crop production and agribusiness, and introduced new technologies to the Mongolian agriculture sector - a sector that builds strongly on animal husbandry, potato farming and intensive vegetable farming.

Mongolian farmers also benefited from new varieties of fodder crops and improved cultivation technologies, which offer livestock keepers more options to keep their animals strong and healthy and will make animal husbandry overall more resilient against climate change.

In the area of crop farming, new vegetable and fruit varieties, along with effective greenhouse technologies, resulted in increased yields.

Local agricultural companies also expanded marketing and sale channels thanks to South-South exchanges and trade between China and Mongolia. 

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Mongolia Vows to Fight Smog Even as Funds Diverted to Budget Gap

by Michael Kohn

  • A $12 million fund to combat smog diverted, minister says
  • Govt to offer benefits to cos that can make efficient stoves

November 28 (Bloomberg) Mongolia will continue to battle its severe air pollution even as funds to clean up Ulaanbaatar's toxic atmosphere have been diverted to fill a widening budget gap, according to the country's environmental chief.

"Every year 30 billion tugrik ($12 million) is collected from car owners, coal users and others who contribute to air pollution," Oyunkhorol Dulamsuren, minister for environment and tourism, said in Ulaanbaatar. "This money should be used to combat air pollution but it is being used to fill the budget deficit. It should be spent only for air pollution but it's not like that.''

Air pollution in the world's coldest capital can reach extreme levels in winter when residents in "ger'' districts, or unplanned neighborhoods unconnected to central heating, burn through large stores of raw coal to stave off sub-zero temperatures. Coal-burning power plants and vehicles idling in long traffic jams also contribute to the noxious air. The coal smoke has led to an increase in miscarriages, respiratory ailments and cancer.

The budgeted amount of spending from the Clean Air Fund has been lowered to a more realistic amount of 5 billion tugrik for 2017, said Oyunkhorol.

The more conservative spending comes as Mongolia enters a period of austerity following years of overblown budgets. The deficit has more than doubled this year to $1 billion while the economy contracted 1.6 percent in the first nine months. The government is seeking economic lifelines from foreign lenders, including the International Monetary Fund and China.

Despite tightened budgets, Oyunkhorol continues to seek measures to decrease the burning of raw coal.

Fuel-Efficient Stoves

Small business will be given tax incentives to produce fuel-efficient stoves. Government subsidies are planned to lower the cost of processed coal briquettes, which emit lower amounts of harmful particulates compared to raw coal. The nighttime tariff on using electricity has also been slashed by 50 percent to encourage families to heat their homes with electric heaters.

Roughly half of Ulaanbaatar's 1.3 million people live in a ger district, said Oyunkhorol, adding that her government will continue with long-held plans to modernize the ger areas with piped infrastructure and low-cost apartment blocks.

The city burns 5.9 million tons of coal per year, with around 90 percent consumed by power stations and the remaining 10 percent burned in the ger districts, said Oyunkhorol. Despite the relatively small use of coal by private individuals, ger districts are the source of 80 percent of the air pollution.

The particulate matter most dangerous to humans, known as PM2.5, can reach more than 1000 in the densely-packed ger districts on the north side of Ulaanbaatar. Safe levels are 50 or under. A 2013 study conducted by Simon Fraser University attributed 10 percent of deaths in Ulaanbaatar to poor air quality.

"We should improve public transportation and biking, we need some PR to get people to embrace a healthier lifestyle, to get them out of their cars,'' Oyunkhorol said.

Climate Change

Mongolia has a vested interest in lowering its carbon emissions and encouraging big emitters such as China and the U.S. to do the same.

Climate change caused by carbon emissions has played a role in altering Mongolia's eastern steppe ecosystem, where 120 of 200 rivers have dried out, according to Oyunkhorol. Critics such as Donald Trump, who's called climate change a hoax, need to pay more attention to small countries like Mongolia that are suffering because of global warming.

"Climate change is a big concern right now and Donald Trump should not be denying it," she said. "It's a global issue. It is drying out the rivers on Mongolian territory.''

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Banks say issued 514.2 billion loans that reduce air pollution

November 28 ( In scope of Mongolian Sustainable Financing Principle, MNT 880.8 billions of financing were funded to the companies as of first three quarters of 2016. Of which MNT 514.2 billions were granted to the projects aiming at reducing air pollution of Mongolia, which accounts the 58.4 percent of total financing. 

MNT 321.5 billion were funded to four water conservation projects, MNT 16.1 billion were funded to 787 renewable energy projects, MNT 28.6 billion were funded to 900 energy efficiency projects and MNT 400 million were funded to other green projects. About 30 percent (one in three) of loans borrowed by the commercial banks to the companies provide the requirement for green loans. 

In further, Mongolian Bankers Association is projected to establish "Green loan fund" and fincance the fund with international fundings. According to the international standard, up to US$ 50 millions of green loans is able to be granted for per green project.

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Open discussion of the 2017 city budget held

By T. Bayarbat

November 27 (UB Post) The Ulaanbaatar Mayor's Office hosted an open discussion of Ulaanbaatar's 2017 budget this past weekend. Ulaanbaatar Mayor S.Batbold, Chairman of the Ulaanbaatar City Council Ts.Sandui, and Deputy Mayors met with citizens' representatives, district mayors, and representative from city agencies and other authorities in Ulaanbaatar to hear their opinions on the 2017 city budget.

The discussion's attendees pointed out that Ulaanbaatar's residents have faced challenges in receiving proper medical care and childcare from the overloaded systems available, as well as infrastructure and road difficulties, so there should be a greater focus on dealing with these challenges.

They asked Ulaanbaatar's leadership to resolve financing or to carry out concession agreements to implement plans to expand some public schools to resolve capacity challenges.

Mayor S.Batbold stated that the open discussion was an effective meeting, and that the citizens' representatives had determined the challenges residents face in their districts. He thanked the citizens' representatives for working to develop Ulaanbaatar, and told the discussion's attendees to put effort into promoting effective initiatives.

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UB events not to be missed in December

November 29 ( --

Event: "Movie Swing" concert by Bayanmongol Jazz Big Band 
Time: Dec 2 at 7PM
Venue: State Philharmonic Theatre 
Tax: MNT 15,000. Tickets are available at 
Description: The concert will perform the Oscar-winning film music and Mongolian film music. Bayanmongol jazz big band, solo singers N.Naranbaatar, Ts.Khulan, P.Unurjargal and B.Solongo will attend the concert.

Event: "Amazing Circus" 
Time: Dec 3 at 12PM
Venue: Ulaanbaatar ensemble 
Tax: MNT 10,000. Tickets are available at 
Description: Ulaanbaatar ensemble in cooperation with the artists of Ulaanbaatar circus to perform the best circus show that performed in Turkey, Japan, Germany, France, Russia and China.

Event: Ballet "Giselle" by Mongolian State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet 
Time: Dec 4 at 5PM
Venue: Mongolian State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet 
Tax: MNT 10,000, 15,000 and 20,000. Tickets are available at, ticket office of Mongolian State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet and free delivery at 1900 1800
Description: Mongolian State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet to perform the "Giselle" ballet by Adoplhe Adam. The ballet is about a peasant girl named Giselle, who dies of a broken heart after discovering her lover is betrothed to another. The Wilis, a group of supernatural women who dance men to death, summon Giselle from her grave. They target her lover for death, but Giselle's great love frees him from their grasp.

Event: "Jazz and Dinner" with singer Champian Fulton 
Venue: The Corporate Hotel & Convention Centre
Time: Dec 7 at 7PM
Tax: MNT 80,000. Tickets are available at and free delivery at 1900 1800
Description: The Corporate Hotel & Convention Centre collabration with the Jazz Lab music agency is organizing the VIP concert of pianist and singer Champian Fulton. The concert ticket includes dinner, dessert and Italy wine.

Event: "Night of Ulaanbaatar" concert by "Khangarid" National Music Orchestra, Ulaanbaatar ensemble 
Time: Dec 7 at 7PM
Venue: Ulaanbaatar ensemble 
Tax: MNT 80,000. Tickets are available at and free delivery at 1900 1800
Description: Musicians of"Khangarid" National Music Orchestra, Ulaanbaatar ensemble to perform the music of Mongolian well-known composers including B.Damdinsuren, S.Gonchigsumlaa, Kh.Bilegjargal, M.Badam, J.Mend-Amar, R.Bat-Erdene, T.Ser-Od, Kh.ALtangerel, D.Ariunbold, B.Munkhbold.

Event: "The Great American Song Book" jazz concert by pianist and singer Champian Fulton 
Time: Dec 8 at 7PM
Venue: Mongolian State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet 
Tax: MNT 40,000 and 50,000. Tickets are available at and free delivery at 1900 1800
Description: The Corporate Hotel & Convention Centre collaboration with the Jazz Lab music agency is organizing the jazz concert of pianist and singer Champian Fulton. Moreover, American drummer Steve Pruit and German bass musician Martin Zyenkyer will perform at the concert.

Event: Ballet "Swan Lake" by Mongolian State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet 
Venue: Mongolian State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet 
Time: Dec 10 at 5PM
Tax: MNT 10,000, 20,000 and 30,000. Tickets are available at, ticket office of Mongolian State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet and free delivery at 1900 1800
Description: Mongolian State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet to perform the "Swan Lake" ballet by P.I.Tchaikovsky. The story of Swan Lake is woven around two girls, Odette and Odile, who resemble each other so closely they can easily be mistaken for the other. Originally their roles were entrusted to two separate dancers, but as there is only one brief fleeting moment when they are seen simultaneously, it has long been customary for a single prima ballerina to perform both parts, differentiating them by characterisation and general style. The action takes place in Germany in the distant past.

Event: "Sounds of Winter" New Year`s concert by Horse fiddle ensemble 
Venue: Mongolian State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet 
Time: Dec 14 at 7PM
Tax: MNT 30,000 and 50,000. Tickets are available at, ticket office of Mongolian State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet and free delivery at 1900 1800
Description: Horse fiddle ensemble is organizing the third "Sounds of Winter" New Year`s concert. The concert play the New Year`s music.

Event: Ballet "Nutcracker" New Year`s concert by State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet 
Venue: Mongolian State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet 
Time: Dec 17, 18 at 5PM
Tax: MNT 20,000, 30,000 and 40,000. Tickets are available at, ticket office of Mongolian State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet 
Description: Mongolian State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet has first performed the "Nutcracker" ballet in 1982.

Event: "Snow Melody" New Year Concert 2017  by Mongolian State Philharmonic 
Time: Dec 23 at 7PM
Venue: Mongolian Central Cultural Palace 
Tax: MNT 20,000 and 30,000 Tickets are available at and free delivery at 19001800
Description: Over 200 artists will participate in the annual "Snow Melody" New Year`s Concert, hosted by the Mongolian State Philharmonic. Symphony orchestra, horse fiddle ensemble, Bayanmongol jazz orchestra, solo singers of Mongolian State Philharmonic, dancers and rock-pop stars will perform at the biggest new year`s concert.

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Mongolian FM Signs Book of Condolences on Fidel Castro's Demise

Ulaanbaatar, November 29 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia, Mr Ts Munkh-Orgil, visited the Cuban Embassy in Ulaanbaatar, to sign the book of condolences, on the demise of historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz. Accompanying the FM, were Damdin Gansukh, Director of the Department of America, Middle East and Africa, Enkhbold Odmunkh, deputy Director of Protocol of the Foreign Ministry.

Cuban ambassador, Raul Delgado Concepción, thanked the Foreign Minister who also transmitted the condolences of the Spokesperson of the Mongolian Parliament (Great Hural) the gesture of visiting the diplomatic see to express condolences in the name of the government on occasion of the passing of the leader of the Cuban Revolution and great Cuban revolutionary.
The Minister recalled the valuable contribution of Commander in Chief Fidel Castro who started the friendly relationship between Mongolia and Cuba and strengthened the development of that relation, reports Prensa Latina.

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60th Anniversary of Serbia-Mongolia Relations Celebrated

By T. Bayarbat

November 27 (UB Post) A ceremony commemorating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and the Republic of Serbia was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

During the ceremony's opening remarks, Foreign Affairs Minister Ts.Munkh-Orgil thanked the Government of Serbia for granting Mongolian students scholarships and developing relations and cooperation between the two countries.

Ambassador of Serbia to Mongolia Milan Bacevic noted that the two countries have maintained historic and friendly ties for many years. He said that the Republic of Serbia is willing to take relations and cooperation to a new level.

Heads of diplomatic missions and international organizations in Ulaanbaatar, and representatives from Mongolian ministries, agencies, government organizations, entrepreneurs, and people conducting business and other work in Serbia participated in the event.

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Mongolia and Serbia celebrate 60th anniversary of diplomatic tiesMontsame, November 28

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China Threatens Payback for Dalai Lama Trip to Mongolia

Beijing cancels cooperation meetings, while Ulaanbaatar says the Tibetan leader's visit was purely religious.

November 28 (Transitions Online) Last week saw the ninth visit of the Dalai Lama to Mongolia, much to the discontent of the country's neighbor and crucial trading partner China.

While the organizers of the Tibetan spiritual leader's five-day visit insisted it was in no way political, but merely an opportunity to share the Dalai Lama's wisdom, the visit has put a critical aid package from China to Mongolia in jeopardy.

China sees the 82-year-old exiled Tibetan monk-ruler as a fomenter of separatism in the remote region, which came under total Chinese control 50 years ago. On the eve of the visit, China's Foreign Minister urged Mongolia to cancel it in the interests of stable bilateral relations, The Associated Press reported.

Beijing also cautioned about possible negative effects of hosting the exiled Buddhist leader, much in line with the usual warnings to other countries that receive him.  

The warning took a concrete form late last week when China indefinitely postponed talks on loans and development projects to help Mongolia out of a prolonged slump, Bloomberg reports

Mongolia had hoped to secure a $4.2 billion loan from Beijing. As the AP said, "With commodity prices slumping, Mongolia is running out of hard currency to repay foreign debts and is seeking help from a neighbor that accounts for about 90 percent of its exports." 

China has taken action against Mongolia in the past for hosting the Dalai Lama. It briefly closed its borders with Mongolia after his 2002 visit and suspended direct flights from Beijing to Ulaanbaatar after another visit in 2006.  

Mongolian Foreign Minister Munkh-Orgil Tsend said the government played no role in inviting the Dalai Lama, whose visit was organized by a Buddhist monastery. 

·         The Dalai Lama's visit also appeared controversial within Buddhist circles in Mongolia. The high lama of the Ikh Khuree monastery, Z. Sanjdorj, denounced the Tibetan's cult of personality and interference in Mongolia's internal affairs. 

·         Mongolia's economy has been reeling for the past few years as commodity prices fell and the Chinese economy slowed. Gross domestic product for the first nine months of the year fell 1.6 percent compared to the same period last year, Reuters reports

·         Ruthlessly suppressed during the communist period, Mongolian Buddhism is closely related to Tibetan practices and many regard the Dalai Lama as their spiritual leader. His first visit to Mongolia was in 1979.

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China cancels upcoming Mongolia meetings after Tibetan leader visitsThe Tibet Post, November 29

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Initiatives For China lauds Mongolia, urges others to resist 'bully' China

Dharamshala, November 29 (The Tibet Post) — The Initiatives for China (also known as the Citizen Power for China), a grassroots movement dedicated to advancing a peaceful transition to democratic governance in China, recently applauded Mongolia's decision to allow His Holiness the Dalai Lama to visit the country to teach Buddhism. The IFC praised moral courage of the Mongolian leaders for standing up to Chinese Communist regime's 'bullying' and 'interfering a sovereign nation's internal affairs.'

In a statement released on 28 November, IFC condemned China's unabated intimidation and retaliation against the country over a purely religious visit of the Tibetan spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama. "IFC is appalled to learn that Beijing has strongly retaliated against Mongolia by freezing diplomatic ties between Mongolia and China, despite the fact that His Holiness Dalai Lama's visit to Mongolia was purely religious in nature. Such an action only reveals Beijing's cowardice of bullying the weak and fearing the strong."

Calling upon Taiwan, South Africa and other countries to follow Mongolia's example by standing up against China's 'bullying' in international relations, IFC said, "We believe that like Mongolia all countries should stand up against the Chinese regime bad behaviour in international relations, and say "no" to this bully by letting it know that bullying is not acceptable nor will be tolerated by the international community. We therefore strongly encourage the governments of Taiwan, South Africa and others to to follow Mongolia's example, and we also urge President-elected Donald Trump to meet with His Holiness the Dalai Lama as soon as possible. By rejecting apathy and recommitting to justice and brotherhood we can truly enjoy living in a global village where bullies cannot exist."

His Holiness visited Mongolia for a series of public events and teachings in the capital of Ulaanbaatar from November 20th to the 24th.

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Ethnic Mongolian Dissident Appeals 'Separatism' Conviction to China's Highest Court

November 23 (Radio Free Asia) Ethnic Mongolian dissident Hada has lodged an appeal with China's supreme court, in a bid to put pressure on Chinese officials over his torture during 19 years of incarceration, and continuing harassment and restrictions on himself and his family.

Hada, 60, was released from extrajudicial detention in December 2014, four years after his 15-year jail term for "separatism" and "espionage" ended, but has remained under close police surveillance and numerous restrictions, including a travel ban and frozen bank accounts.

In the appeal, Hada takes issue with his alleged "confession," to the charges, saying that it was obtained under torture and after being given unidentified drugs.

"[This confession] was extracted through cruel torture including application of some unknown drugs," the appeal document said, citing a "type of tea" given to him on Dec. 11, 1995 that left him with an erratic heart rate and symptoms of a mental breakdown.

"[Officers] Liu Fulin and Yu Gui all admitted that torture was applied to me," it said. "At that time, investigators, detention center personnel and many inmates had been part of the torture for an extended period of time."

Previous official complaints about Hada's treatment at the hands of the authorities were ignored, the statement, translated by the New York-based Southern Mongolia Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC) said.

"Instead, even today the authorities still seem to consider all the torture methods they used are a normal acceptable practice," it said.

Hada, who currently lives in Hohhot, regional capital of Inner Mongolia, told RFA he had to continue with his attempts to appeal his original sentence, because he had been framed as a dangerous "separatist" simply for his support for the ethnic Mongolian cause.

"There were plenty of holes in the evidence, and yet they still sentenced me to 15 years, plus another four years [of extrajudicial detention] on top of that, which makes 19 years," he said.

"It's now nearly two years since I have been held under house arrest at home, which isn't that much different from being in jail," he said.

Heating and water cut off

He said he expects to stay locked up for as long as the ruling Chinese Communist Party remains in power.

"If they say they want the rule of law, then they must investigate this, and overturn the verdict," Hada said. "They should pursue those who are criminally responsible."

Hada is living in an apartment allocated to him following his release from an unofficial "black jail," so that police are now able to control every aspect of his daily life, he said.

"They have stopped the heating supply this winter, and they cut off the water supply a while back," he said in an interview on Tuesday. "We have to pay the water bill ourselves, and I had paid it with money donated by the [ethnic Mongolian] herders."

"Now they are trying to force us to pay the heating bill, and we haven't done that," he said. "All of this is an attempt to force me to cooperate with them and give up my ideas, and then I'll have whatever I want."

"They are doing all this to try to make me surrender ... they are afraid that the Mongolians will use me as a figurehead to launch some kind of ethnic revolt that will spread across the country and topple the Communist Party from power," he said.

Hada's wife Xinna said the authorities also detain anyone who tries to visit him. "It's actually jail-at-home," she said. "We have no source of income right now ... they are demanding 3,000 yuan for the heating bill, and we have no way at all of paying that."

Xinna said the authorities are determined to silence Hada, and to force him to "admit to his crimes."

She said the couple had turned down requests of social subsistence payments from the government, because they came with strings attached.

"I told them we don't want your subsistence payments," she said. "We want you to stop oppressing us."

Mongolian-language education suffers

Elsewhere in the region, ethnic Mongolian parents have been protesting the end of Mongolian-medium education in two local kindergartens.

Parents in Ulaanhad (in Chinese, Chifeng) city have issued open letters and petitions calling on the authorities to overturn a ban on the use of Mongolian in the kindergartens.

"Depriving the Mongolians of their right to speak and use their native language is ethnic discrimination," their open letter said.

"The words and actions of [the recently appointed Han Chinese kindergarten principals] are nothing but a flagrant demonstration of typical Chinese chauvinism," it said, calling the moves "hate speech and hate action" that was akin to the behavior of a colonial power.

Ethnic Mongolian parents say there is now an overall shortage of school places for their children, as an increasing proportion of pupils winning places are from the majority Han Chinese ethnic group.

According to recent research by Hada, the number of Mongolian students enrolled in Mongolian elementary schools fell to 19,000 in 2009 from 110,000 in the early 1980s.

In spite of police restrictions forbidding him to engage in political matters, Hada has continued to speak out on behalf of ethnic Mongolian herders, who are increasingly in conflict with the government and state-own companies over the exploitation of their traditional grazing lands.

Ethnic Mongolians, who make up almost 20 percent of Inner Mongolia's population of 23 million, increasingly complain of widespread environmental destruction and unfair development policies in the region.

Clashes between Chinese state-backed mining or forestry companies and herding communities are common in the region, which borders the independent country of Mongolia.

Hada has said routine evictions of herders from their traditional grazing lands, often in the name of ecological protection, are part of a calculated program of ethnic cleansing in the region.

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Health & Education

Japan exports technical college know-how to Mongolia

November 28 (The Yomiuri Shimbun) The government plans to export to emerging countries in Asia and Africa knowledge about how to operate Japanese technical colleges that develop human resources through a five-year practical curriculum, urging them to open such educational institutions in their own countries.

Japan established a base to support the operation of technical colleges in Mongolia in November, the first of its kind under the project. It also plans to open support bases in Thailand in December, and in Vietnam by the end of March next year.

The overseas support bases will be founded by the National Institute of Technology, an independent administrative institution that operates technical colleges run by the central government. Japanese teachers and others at the institute will act as coordinators for the governments of partner countries and model colleges overseas, which will introduce the curricula of Japan's technical colleges.

They will ascertain the abilities of local students and teachers, as well as what human resources are needed, and support the governments and model schools by developing teaching materials and dispatching teachers from Japan.

The new project aims to establish a system for local Japanese firms to employ work-ready human resources, as well as make a greater international contribution by helping emerging countries develop human resources through a Japanese-style educational system.

In Mongolia, three technical colleges were established in 2014 that were modeled after Japanese ones. Through the support base, the Japanese government will help them improve the curricula and enhance the abilities of teachers.

Thailand and Vietnam are aiming to establish new technical colleges and are also considering introducing curriculums equivalent to those at technical colleges into universities and other institutions.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe introduced Japanese-style technical colleges and promised African nations it would help with establishing them in their own countries at the Tokyo International Conference on African Development in Kenya in late August this year.

"Japan has a higher educational system called 'kosen' (a Japanese word for a technical college), which specializes in educating engineers. Japan will introduce this system in Africa," Abe said.

The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry intends to promote further operations overseas, including Africa, utilizing the results produced by the technical colleges in the three Asian countries as early examples.

Technical colleges in Japan have been engaged in international cooperation, such as dispatching teachers and accepting foreigners in training programs, at the request of the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

Emerging countries need excellent technical human resources due to rapid industrial development. They have high regard for and pay attention to Japanese-style technical colleges as an intermediate educational system between vocational training schools, where people can acquire professional skills, and universities that conduct academic research.

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Scientist awarded ₮100 million for finding potential cancer cure

November 29 ( Academician D.Batsuren has been awarded the Natural and Social Sciences Award for his thesis entitled the "Unique principle of synthesis of secondary metabolites in the medical herbs of Mongolia - a potential new agent for curing cancers". The award, which has a MNT 100 million cash prize, is presented every year.

D.Batsuren's discoveries are being studied in more than 150 countries. The Mongolian academician has been conducting research and experiments for more than 40 years, during which he has studied nearly 50 plant species, and identified and defined over 300 substances. He has discovered 37 natural compounds, recovered 22 pure substances from haplophyllum and discovered 7 new substances.

D.Batsuren graduated from the Mongolian State University of Education and went on study advanced chemistry, receiving a Ph.D in Russia. Among his inventions are the 'Amin tun' elixir for livestock and 'Akhillo' medicine for curing Hepatitis B and C. He has been working on the 'DAGURIX' elixir for curing cancer for 14 years, the patent for which has been received from the USA. 'DAGURIX' is most likely to be useful in the early stages of breast, liver, lung and abnormal cancer.

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Mongolian Named Russia's Student of the Year

November 29 ( The North-Caucasus Federal University, located in the Russian town of Stavropol, has hosted the 3rd All-Russian Student Forum on the Quality of Education. During the forum, which took place from 17th-19th of November, Mongolian student Ts.Lkhagvatsend, from the Russian Peoples' Friendship University won first place at the '2016-Student of the Year' national award competition, in which nearly 200 students from universities across Russia participated.

The forum is a part of a programme for improving the quality of higher-education. Backed by the Russian Federal Ministry of Education, the programme is being coordinated by various higher educational institutions; the Urals Federal University has been involved in the nationwide ranking programme, which was announced this month. The Stavropol forum provided a further platform for discussing issues related to the quality of higher education, problems of the adaptation of students to educational and professional environments, and the development of a model for collaboration between educational institutions.

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President of Mongolian Intellectual Academy Kh.Khatanbaatar receives Order of Khangarid

November 29 (UB Post) On November 26, the Ulaanbaatar City Council received president of the Intellectual Academy of Mongolia Kh.Khatanbaatar to present him with the highest prize of the capital, the Order of Khangarid.

Kh.Khatanbaatar recently returned from Las Vegas with 14 other memory athletes after taking part in the World Mental Olympics, Memoriad 2016. His students won 15 medals as well as the winner's cup of the tournament by overall score.

Chairman of the Ulaanbaatar City Council Ts.Sandui said, "Kh.Khatanbaatar has been working to develop memory sports in Mongolian since 1991. Mongolian memory athletes are dominating the world. We value your hard work and present you with the Order of Khangarid."

Kh.Khatanbaatar said, "Thank you for valuing my work and giving me this prize. I want to express my gratitude to all athletes and staff of the Intellectual Academy of Mongolia."

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Mongolia Awarded CYFI Global Inclusion Award for Youth Support

The Global Inclusion Awards 2016, a CYFI initiative, recognize and honor those that achieve greatness and demonstrate innovation in financial, social and livelihoods education, financial inclusion, and entrepreneurial support for children and youth at the national, regional and international level.

The Awards ceremony took place on 28 November at the Golden Hall at Stockholm City Hall, Sweden. CYFI were joined by over 150 representatives from 45 countries to celebrate global efforts to economically empower young people

Award Winners 2016

CYFI is delighted to announce the winners of the Global Inclusion Awards 2016!

This year's finalists were outstanding and highlighted the amazing work that is being carried out in order to empower young people worldwide – many thanks to everyone who join us for the celebration!

Child & Youth Friendly Banking Award

Winner: "Children/student card. Smart School Education Program" by Belarusbank, Belarus

Civil Society Achievement Award

Winner: "Opportunity Girls Education Challenge" by Opportunity International (OI), Uganda

CYFI Country Award

Regional winner - Americas & The Caribbean: Paraguay

Regional winner - Europe & Central Asia: Armenia

Regional winner - Africa: Mozambique

Regional winner - Middle East & North Africa: Egypt

Regional winners - Asia & The Pacific: Fiji and Mongolia

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Culture & Society

Mogi: HH calls us "lazy" in the interview. Whoooops, but sadly true.

Mongolian Buddhists should pay more attention to studies: Dalai Lama

Dharamshala, Nov 29 (ANI): Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, who visited Mongolia on a five-day visit, said Mongolian Buddhists should pay more attention to studies as just chanting is not sufficient. Lama said the old monks in the region have to suffer a lot but still they were determined and managed to keep the Buddhist tradition alive there. He added that there is a need for atleast 20 to 30 years of serious study.

Watch the Video below

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Tibetan leader returns from extended trip to Japan and MongoliaThe Tibet Post, November 29

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Soyombo alphabet marks 330 years

November 29 (MONTSAME) A scientific conference themed "Soyombo studies: Intellectual mentality and literacy" and an exhibition on Soyombo alphabet have been hosted on the occasion of the 330th anniversary of creation of Soyombo alphabet by Highly Saint G.Zanabazar.

The I Bogdo of Mongolia Zanabazar Gombodorj invented Soyombo alphabet with 90 letters which is used to write Mongolian, Sanskrit and Tibetan words easily.

Soymbo had been used for about 200 years long for decorating monasteries and temples in Mongolia. Later, it has found its use as a symbol and emblem on the state seal, sutras and books, travel passports and national banknote as well as national traditional items.

Soyombo itself means in Sanskrit "A self-born holy script" and represents many symbols political, philosophical, and religious.

The Symbol has ten elements in the columnar arrangement of abstract and geometric symbols and patterns. They are fire, sun, moon, two triangles, two horizontal rectangles, the Arga-Bilge (yin and yang) and two vertical rectangles. The elements in the symbol are given the following significance (from top):

  • Fire is a general symbol of eternal growth, wealth, and success. The three tongues of the flame represent the past, present, and future.
  • Sun and moon symbolise that the Mongolian nation will exist for eternity as the eternal blue sky. Mongolian symbol of the sun, moon and fire derived from the Xiongnu.
  • The two triangles allude to the point of an arrow or spear. They point downward to announce the defeat of interior and exterior enemies.
  • The two horizontal rectangles give stability to the round shape. The rectangular shape represents the honesty and justice of the people of Mongolia, whether they stand at the top or at the bottom of society.
  • The arga-bilge symbol illustrates the mutual complement of man and woman. In socialist times, it was alternatively interpreted as two fish symbolizing vigilance, because fish never close their eyes.
  • The two vertical rectangles can be interpreted as the walls of a fort. They represent unity and strength, relating to a Mongolian proverb: "The friendship of two is stronger than stone walls".

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'Eagle Huntress' shows girls are the same all over – even on the steppes

November 28 (The Charlotte Observer) At first glance, "The Eagle Huntress" could be Disney material. It's narrated by Daisy Ridley, who has become a feminine empowerment symbol since "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." It has a hook-laden title song by Sia, a strong-willed 13-year-old heroine with an animal sidekick, and a theme that resonates with young adults: When "wise" elders tell you not to pursue your destiny, keep pushing.

It even has a cornball tagline: "The spellbinding true story about a 13-year-old girl on an epic journey to gain victory in a faraway land." Sounds like superhero material, yeah?

Except it's a documentary, it's set on the plains of Mongolia, and it's not in English. And what Aisholpan wants is to become the first female in her tribe to master the art of hunting and competing with a wild eagle she captures and trains. The land isn't far away from her home; it's just far from us. And her "epic journey" lasts one day on horseback, though she and her father ride over rough-looking country.

Hype aside, this is an extremely simple but likeable film. Aisholpan attends middle school five days a week away from home; on weekends, she returns to help her family. Her father, a champion eagle hunter, encourages her to follow in her footsteps. Mom goes along, a little reluctantly. Old men in the village do not, uttering the usual platitudes about women's household roles, lack of stamina, frailty, etc.

Aisholpan faces three challenges. She must take an eaglet from its cliffside eyrie when it's old enough to live outside the nest but not old enough to fly away. She must compete in a regional eagle-handling contest. And she must take her eagle onto the wintry steppes and teach it to kill a fox. That requires not just training skill but strength, as she'll ride around for hours with a 15-pound bird on her arm.

Director Otto Bell repeats himself often. We hear old men mutter words of disparagement again and again, though the feeling isn't universal: Elderly judges at the eagle festival give her high ratings, and they could mark her down out of prejudice if they chose to.

Yet Aisholpan, who has a merry face to go with her sturdy frame, holds the camera without playing to it, and the barrenly beautiful landscape holds your eye. As alien as this countryside may seem to Westerners, the sexist naysaying of its inhabitants will be quite familiar.

I wondered at the end whether Aisholpan will remain an eagle huntress when she marries, has children and assumes duties in her own home, or whether she'll feel she has proven her point and put her eagle down. Guess we'll have to wait until 2023 for "Eagle Huntress II" to find out.

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Lucky Paws: Preventative contraception would avoid unnecessary deaths

By B. Myagmardorj

November 29 ( Lucky Paws NGO is holding a fundraising event "Who Let the Dogs Out" under the slogan "Preventative contraception would avoid unnecessary deaths" at CUE+ Bar today, 30 November.
Please bring any old clothes you may have for donation. Highlights include the singer ChoiJoo and DJ Btr Ch. and other amusements.

The main discussion will be held under the topic "Spaying and neutering and how to save those our animal friends".

The organisers will also be selling Lucky Paws branded items and DEER BRAND eco-bags – all profits from this event will to go help the poor street puppies. Please come to show your support for those furry street orphans.

Where: CUE+ Bar, Gegeenten Entertainment Centre
When: November 30, 6:00 p.m.
No entrance fee.

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Nomadic Shelters Become Modern Yurts in Oregon Parks

November 29 (Jefferson Public Radio) Beginning in 1994, round, wood-framed shelters called yurts began dotting campsites in Oregon State Parks. Today there are more than 200, complete with heat and electricity.  Felt-covered yurts originated in Mongolia, but the move from nomadic shelter to Oregon campsites involves a U. S. Supreme Court justice and Oregon foresters.

In 1962 a New Hampshire high school teacher, Bill Coperthwaite, read a National Geographic article on Mongolia by Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas.  Intrigued, Coperthwaite had his students build a yurt roof to illustrate the mathematics of its curves, and later built a complete yurt in Grass Valley, Calif.

During the 1970's, the Eugene-based Hoedad reforestation cooperative used yurts as shelter.  A former member, Alan Bates, founded Pacific Yurts in Cottage Grove, building modern yurts with NASA-designed insulation, modern fabric coverings and aircraft cable supports.  In 1993 Oregon State Parks employee Craig Tutor saw the Pacific Yurts' display at the Oregon State Fair.  As Tutor said, "Something just started clicking in my brain…The whole purpose of this program wasn't for summer campers, it was for off-season tent campers."

Oregon's yurts are often booked solid for a year.  They've come a long way from Mongolia.

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Mogi: should I be laughing or …

AsianDate Lists Its Top 5 Destinations That Make Mongolia So Magical and Captivating

AsianDate turns the spotlight on Mongolia by exploring the country's top 5 sights to discover.

November 23 -- AsianDate, the leading international dating service for singles seeking Asian matches, has revealed the five stunning destinations that make Mongolia such a wonderful place to explore. The popular online dating service is always looking to help singles explore the best Asian destinations, and Mongolia is often overlooked due to its remote location.

Mongolia is a mystical land associated with horses and nomads. A large part of the country remains unexplored and offers tourists the opportunity to set their eyes on enchanting and little-seen places. The abundant nature and the cobalt blue skies make Mongolia a great place to visit for those who love nature and adventure.

The top Mongolian destination recommended by AsianDate is the Terelj National Park, known for its rich natural beauty. The park is famous for its remarkable rock formations and densely forested mountains. Romantic visitors can enjoy the serene beauty and stunning scenes that nature presents here.

Chinggis Square, located in the capital of Ulaanbaatar, is second on the list of top five places to visit in Mongolia. Here, the contrast between the modern and traditional is clearly visible as the square is surrounded by both old and new buildings. The square has statues of Chinggis Khan, the founder of the Mongol empire and Sukhbaatar, one of the leaders of the 1921 Mongolian People's Revolution against the Qing dynasty.

AsianDate recommends the Orkhon Valley as the third must-visit place in Mongolia. The place is known for its rich history and captures the culture and traditions of the local people. The valley is famous for its picturesque steppes and landscapes and is surrounded by the fertile Khangai Massif. It has a rich fauna and flora, making Orkhon Valley the perfect place to view the nomads of Mongolia in a verdant setting.

In fourth place on AsianDate's list is the popular Lake Khovsgol. Acclaimed as one of the clearest lakes in the world and bordered by magnificent mountains, Khovsgol is easily one of the best scenic destinations of the country.

Fifth on the list of top places in Mongolia is the region of Mongolia to the west. It is home to rare wild animals and ethnic communities. The majestic snow-capped mountains are the biggest attraction here.

AsianDate is a popular online dating destination for singles from across the globe. The globally renowned website is committed to delivering a wonderful online dating experience to all registered members. They have a wide range of dating tools and features available on their website all powered by the best in technology.

AsianDate members can use the website's innovative and advanced dating features to connect and communicate with members from across Asia. It's a great way to learn more about destinations across such as the enchanting country of Mongolia.

For more information, visit   

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Nature & Environment

70 percent of Mongolian territory covered with thick snow

By A. Odontuya

November 29 ( More than 70 percent of Mongolian territory is currently covered with thick snow, reaching 25-25 cm while snow thickness found in mountainous areas have reached 40-90 cm. 

International and professional organizations report that 53 soums of 13 provinces of Mongolia and Nalaikh district of the Ulaanbaatar city are experiencing a natural disaster called dzud, a severe winter with heavy snowfall and very low temperature. Moreover, 38 soums of 13 aimags are expected to suffer from dzud soon. 

In addition, temperature will get worse by the end of December and the coldest winter days than multi-year average are expected in January and February, 2017, reported by the Mongolian Research Institute for Hydrology and Meteorology. 

In regards, the Government of Mongolia today approved necessary funding and obliged affiliated ministers to ensure energy reliability and reserve coal.

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Discovering The Dinosaurs Of The Flaming Cliffs

November 28 (Forbes) Watch original footage from 100 years ago from Roy Chapman Andrews' expeditions to the Gobi Desert, and get a behind-the-scenes look at some of the fossils that his team unearthed there.

In the southern part of the Gobi Desert in Mongolia, there lies a magical place known to English-speakers as the Flaming Cliffs. Located at least a thousand miles away from any major concentrations of human habitation, which are in neighboring China, these reddish-orange cliffs are one of the remotest places on Earth.

These cliffs were named by paleontologist and adventurer Roy Chapman Andrews. (Although he was a scientist, Andrews was no stranger to public adulation, and was at least partly the inspiration for Harrison Ford's character in the Indiana Jones films.) Andrews and his colleague, Henry Fairfield Osborn, developed the "Out of Asia" hypothesis, which proposed that modern humans originated in Asia. To find evidence supporting this hypothesis, Andrews led a series of expeditions between 1922 and 1930 for the American Museum of Natural History to the Gobi Desert, in search of the earliest known human fossil remains.

These expeditions were a failure — no human fossils were found. But Andrews and his team still made many breathtaking discoveries at the Flaming Cliffs: spectacular Velociraptors (which starred in the film, Jurassic Park), never-before-seen early mammals and most important, the first ever discovered dinosaur nest full of eggs. These fossil eggs gave rise to the field of paleoembryology — the study of fossilised dinosaur embryos.

After 100 years of digging for dinosaurs in the Gobi Desert, you might think they have all been unearthed. But the Gobi Desert was once a shallow inland sea, teeming with life. It was also the site of sudden deaths on a massive scale when sandstorms and avalanches of sand buried these ancient animals and preserved their remains, creating one of the richest fossil beds in the world. Even today, new dinosaur fossils are being found there.

Video: Fossil Hunting In the Gobi 360. Courtesy of the American Museum of Natural History. You can follow AMNH on twitter @AMNH

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Mongolia and Russia to collaborate on protection of snow leopards and bighorns

By B. Amarsaikhan

Ulaanbaatar, November 29 (MONTSAME) The sixth meeting of the Mongolia-Russia joint committee on Cooperation in Environmental Protection took place in Moscow on November 24 and 25.

The Mongolian part was led by the state secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Ts.Tsengel, Ambassador of Mongolia to the Russian Federation B.Delgermaa and the Russian part ny Deputy Director of Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resource Usage Amirkhan M.Amirkhanov.

The sides discussed about conservation and protection of migratory species inhabiting the transboundary areas, cooperation in forestry and development of specially protected areas system, as well as implementation of projects reflected in the Programme on Establishing Economic Corridor between Mongolia, Russia and China, and arranged to take certain measures.

The results of researches on the environmental impacts on Baikal lake ecosystem of certain hydropower plant projects, planned to be implemented in Mongolia, were presented. After this, the sides agreed to sum up positions and researches of scholars from both countries while emphasizing an importance of imformation sharing.

The commission underlined achievements reached in implementation of the Agreement on Prevention from Forest Fires between the Government of Mongolia and the Government of the Russian Federation, and concerted on the necessity to focus on allowing smooth crossing the state borders for emergency workers, fighting the crossborder forest fires. The sides agreed on renewing the 1995 Cooperation agreement on Forestry.

Also, the commission resolved to sign an Intergovernmental agreement on establishing a specially protected crossborder areas of Khuvsgul-Tunkhen and Siilkhem, and to organize a workshop meeting of researchers and specialists on monitoring and control of the transboundary migratory animals, in specific, wild mountain sheep (argali) and snow leopards.

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Mongolia's Kakuryu wins 3rd grand sumo title

FUKUOKA, November 27 (Kyodo) — Yokozuna Kakuryu added the icing to his cake with a win on Sunday, the final day of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.

A day after clinching his third career grand tournament title, Kakuryu backed fellow Mongolian yokozuna to the straw bales in the final bout at Fukuoka Kokusai Center and forced him out to finish at 14-1. The loss was Harumafuji's fourth.

"It's really pleasing," Kakuryu said at the award ceremony.

"I've been struggling with injuries for the past one, two years and physically and mentally things didn't come together, but I didn't sulk and it's great that things turned out like this."

Kakuryu won his first 10 bouts here, as he had two years before. But two years ago, his Kyushu tournament unraveled following an 11th day defeat to ozeki Kisenosato.

When the yokozuna once again met his match here in the form of the veteran ozeki, Kakuryu said, "This will be an opportunity to show whether or not I've grown since then."

"I was in the same situation two years ago and that time I fizzled out, but this time I was determined not to let that happen again."

"I feel I'm finally getting to wrestle my way relaxed. I'll not forget how I'm feeling now and keep working."

Ozeki Goeido's first yokozuna-promotion campaign finished on a disappointing note in a loss to yokozuna Hakuho. Goeido finished at 9-6, while the yokozuna salvaged some pride by notching 11 wins after sitting out September's tourney due to injury.

Mongolian komusubi Tamawashi's feat of beating one yokozuna and three ozeki was recognized with a Technique Prize, his first grand tournament award.

The 32-year-old Tamawashi (10-5) finished with a flourish, blasting No. 3 maegashira Endo (7-8) out of the ring with a quick charge and relentless blows to the throat.

"Today was good," Tamawashi said. "I was calm and wrestled well."

The strong performance will likely see the komusubi promoted to sekiwake, sumo's third highest rank.

"For next time, I want to continue enjoying sumo," he said.

Muscular makuuchi division debutant Ishiura, who won 10 straight bouts after opening with a loss, was awarded a Fighting Spirit Prize. Despite the laurels, the No. 15 maegashira was upended by Georgian No. 6 Tochinoshin, leaving both men with 10-5 records.

"I'm happy (to receive the prize)," Ishiura said. "I didn't think I'd get it before the start of the tournament. That (10 wins) was just chance."

"Toward the end, it became tough and I found parts of my game that need work. I need to get stronger on my tachiai (opening charge)."

Third-ranked maegashira Shodai also earned a Fighting Spirit Prize. But like Ishiura, whom he defeated on Saturday, Shodai also lost on the final day. Shodai came away empty-handed on his initial charge against No. 10 Arawashi, who seized a quick hold and finished his opponent off with an overarm throw. Both finished at 11-4.

"Compared to last time, I feel I've become more tenacious," Shodai, a native of neighboring Kumamoto Prefecture, said.

"I want to keep doing the same things in the future (should I rise in the rankings), and concentrate on my sumo. The results here were good and the experience is boosting my confidence.

Kisenosato finished 12-3 after forcing out No. 5 Takarafuji (9-6). Fellow ozeki Kotoshogiku got his fifth win after beating another Fukuoka native and fifth-ranked Shohozan (8-7), while Terunofuji (8-7) finished the meet with a defeat after he was grappled out by sekiwake Takayasu (7-8).

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How Mongolia Conquered Japanese Sumo

Since 2003, only Mongolians have become yokozuna, or the highest-ranked sumo wrestlers

November 25 (WSJ) Like many young men in Mongolia, Nanjidsurch Davaajamts grew up on a remote sheep farm dreaming of a career peculiar to a neighboring country: sumo wrestling.

"I went to my first sumo competition when I was 7 years old, and I won," 17-year-old Davaajamts says. "I've been training in sumo ever since."

Professional sumo wrestling takes place only in Japan. But its top practitioners increasingly are Mongolian. Of the 58 professional tournaments that took place in Japan between January 2006 and January 2016, Mongolians won 56. Since 2003, only Mongolians have become yokozuna, or the highest-ranked sumo wrestlers.

As this year's sumo season draws to a close, a sense of missed opportunity pervades many Japanese fans. In January, a Japanese wrestler won a top-division tournament, something no Japanese wrestler had done in 10 years. Then a second Japanese wrestler won a top tournament in September. That raised hopes of a Japanese wrestler being promoted to the rank of yokozuna for the first time in decades.

For that to happen, however, a Japanese wrestler would have needed to emerge atop the year's last competition, the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament, which ends Nov. 27. As it stands, three Mongolians—all yokozuna—currently hold the most matches in that tournament, and one of them will likely win the championship.

Mongolians established this dominance despite Japanese efforts to limit their access to the sport. In 2003, the fiercely traditionalist Japan Sumo Association instituted a rule limiting the number of foreign recruits to just one per sumo training stable, effectively ensuring that Japanese trainees outnumber foreign recruits 43 to 1. But through that tiny opening Mongolians have come to dominate the sport.

"The Mongolians are hungry for everything mentally, and they're physically strong," says Harumi Kanaya, a Japanese lifelong sumo fan. "But the Japanese are weak, especially mentally."

The explanation is largely economic. By Japanese standards, sumo wrestling isn't a terribly attractive career path. Sumo trainees wake at 5:30 a.m. to begin a day of regimented discipline and training. Junior trainees aren't allowed to drive a car. They are required to wear traditional yukata—a cotton kimono—and unwieldy wooden clogs whenever they go out. In a deeply institutionalized hazing ritual that may take years, they cook, clean and obey orders barked by senior wrestlers. They don't earn a salary.

That's a lot of sacrifice in a country with a standard of living as high as Japan's. Even the highest-earning professional sumo wrestlers don't earn much more than $400,000 a year.

But that opportunity sounds fantastic to Mongolians, who face altogether starker opportunities at home. In their country, the average wage is only $383 a month. Growth is stagnant, inflation high and unemployment hovers around 10%. Infrastructure is so scant that most of the country is unreachable by paved roads. Mongolians survive long winters of subzero temperatures, many of them living as nomadic herders. According to the International Organization for Migration, the rate of Mongolians moving abroad for economic reasons increased exponentially over the last 20 years.

Meanwhile, the sumo retirees who have returned to Mongolia rank among the wealthiest and most successful of the nation's 3 million citizens. They have become business moguls, real-estate developers, and members of parliament.

Seemingly every boy in Mongolia knows the story of Dagvadorj Dolgorsuren, known by his sumo name, Asashoryu. In 2003, he became the first Mongolian yokozuna and launched a meteoric sumo career that both broke records and sparked controversy. Although despised in Japan for his perceived cockiness and uncouth behavior, he was given a hero's welcome when he returned to Mongolia in 2010. After starting several businesses, he now boasts a net worth estimated to be roughly US$50 million. Today he actively recruits young Mongolian men to enter sumo, hosting the annual Asashoryu Cup, an international youth wrestling tournament held in Mongolia.

Davaajamts, like many of his teenage peers, grew up watching Asashoryu on TV. It wasn't a huge leap for them to start practicing sumo, because Mongolia has its own ancient wrestling tradition. The Mongolian wrestling techniques of deflection and throwing have contributed to nine Olympic medals in wrestling and eight in judo. This year, the Mongolian wrestling team caused a stir at the Rio Olympics when a wrestler competing for the bronze lost the medal on a technicality. His coaches were so enraged that they stripped down to their underwear on the wrestling mat, yelling at the judges in protest.

Mongolia-style wrestling translates well to more-lucrative sumo. Across Mongolia's grassy plains, or steppes, entrepreneurs have established sumo gyms and camps. Mongolia's first sumo school opened in Ulaanbaatar in December 2015, and two Mongolian yokozuna have started annual youth sumo tournaments. Adherents dream of making a mark in the fast-growing sport of amateur sumo, which could earn them an offer to move to Japan to train for a possible professional career or earn them a scholarship to a Japanese university.

Increasingly, young boys are seeing sumo as just one steppingstone into a wider world of opportunity that includes business, international relations, sumo coaching and, for the most starry-eyed, acting. There's precedent: Byambajav Ulambayar, a 32-year-old 360-pound Mongolian, had a brief career in professional sumo, lasting only from 2001 to 2005. But he made it to the third-highest division and parlayed that success into a Hollywood career. Besides playing a sumo wrestler in Ocean's 13, he made appearances on TV shows such as "The Bachelorette" and "America's Got Talent." He now lives in Los Angeles.

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King Tug to fight Mexican German Meraz for 7 in 7

November 28 ( The silver medal winner of the Olympic Games and World Boxing Championship, Mongolian boxer N.Tugstsogt will undertake the seventh fight in his professional boxing career. His seventh opponent is to be the Mexican boxer German Meraz. The match will take place at Orange County Fair, Costa Mesa in USA on 8th of December.

Thirty-years-old Meraz currently ranks 278th in the featherweight division. He has had 95 fights in his professional career with 55 wins, 39 loses and one draw since 2005.

Since 2015, becoming a professional boxer, N.Tugstsogt has won his previous six fights with knockouts.

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"Mongolian Judo" documentary premiered today

By B. Amarsaikhan

Ulaanbaatar, November 28 (MONTSAME) The Fighting Films production released November 28 its newest documentary named Mongolian Judo. Three of the best judokas of Mongolia - 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Tsagaanbaatar Khashbaatar and the world championships silver medalist Amartuvshin Dashdavaa and the twice champion of Asia Tumurkhuleg Davaadorj – starred in the documentary.

The Fighting Films director talked about Kh.Tsagaanbaatar "it is a rarity for a judoka to succeed in four weight classifications as Kh.Tsagaanbaatar did. He won bronze medal in 60 kg at the 2004 Olympics, became the world champion in 66 kg, won the 2013 Paris Grand Slam in 73 kg and grabbed bronze medal at the World Cup in 81 kg".

"Davaadorj is a class act who combines the Mongolian wrestling style with classical judo. He has held the world number one spot at -66kg and has won six Grand Slam and Grand Prix golds", the Superstar Judo described D.Tumurkhuleg.

It also said about D.Amartuvshin "Amartuvshin won a silver medal at the 2013 World Championships and has also won six Grand Slam and Grand Prix golds. His style of gripping and entry to throws is very unorthodox".

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Mongolian teenager grabs gold at Irkutsk wrestling tournament

Ulaanbaatar, November 28 (MONTSAME) The Ministry of Sports and the Freestyle Wrestling Federation of the Irkutsk Oblast of Russia have organized the Girls' Freestyle Wrestling Competitions in honor of Natalya Vorobieva, the Olympic and World Champion and twice champion of Europe.

The competitions were participated by more than a hundred girl wrestlers from Russia, China and Mongolia, challenged in 12 weight classifications.

At the competition, held in Baikal Arena sports complex, Mongolian teenage wrestlers N.Anudari won gold in 52 kg, B.Enkhtsetseg won silver in 49 kg and B.Enkhzul grabbed silver in 40 kg.

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Mongolian runner wins Fuji San marathon

Ulaanbaatar, November 29 (MONTSAME) International Master of Sports B.Munkhzaya came first to the finish of the Fuji San Marathon, which took place November 27 in Fujiyoshida, Japan. The Mongolian runner strided the 42 kilometers and 195 meters within 2 hours 48 minutes and 45 seconds.

The 5th Fuji San marathon's first and second runner-ups were Japanese. B.Munkhzaya, the athlete from Mongolia's "Aldar" (Glory) Sports Committee, participated in Rio 2016.

With the championship in Fujiyoshida, she was granted 2 months of free training in Hiroshima.

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E.Temuujin claims silver at U17 World Junior 9-Ball Championships

By B. Tungalag

November 27 (UB Post) Mongolian young billiard player E.Temuujin won a silver medal in the boys' U17 category of the World Junior 9-Ball Championships, which took place in Shanghai, China, from November 16 to 20.

In the final match, E.Temuujin lost to Xiao Huai Zheng of China.

This is the first time that a Mongolian billiard player won a medal from a World Championship event.

A total of 96 billiard players from 24 countries competed in the boy's U17, boys' U19 and girls' U19 categories of the champion-

Mongolian player E.Ariundul competed in the boys' U19 category, and E.Temuujin and Ts.Taivanbat competed in the boys' U17 under the guidance of coach L.Battulga.

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Mongolian university basketball team returns home with silver in world 3x3

November 29 (UB Post) The Mongolian university basketball team, which won a silver medal at the World University 3×3 Basketball Championships, returned home on November 26.

The World University 3×3 Basketball Championships was the team's first world championship event, and the team returned home with a historic achievement.

The Mongolian National Basketball Association, coaches, basketball players and their family welcomed the team.

The World University 3×3 Basketball Championship was held in Xiamen, China from November 19 to 24.

The Mongolian team defeated teams from China, Malaysia, and Thailand.

In the semi-final, they beat Lebanon. They faced against France in the gold medal match, but lost.

Director of Mon-Altius Physical Education Institute and leader of the Mongolian team M.Usukhbayar said, "Twelve countries competed in the World University 3×3 Basketball Championships. We were aiming to seize a medal from the tournament and we have achieved our goal. We proved that team sports can be developed in Mongolia. The hardest match was against France. France is one of the best teams of Europe."

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Mongolia to host world bodybuilding and fitness championships

By B. Amarsaikhan

Ulaanbaatar, November 29 (MONTSAME) Ten men and six women athletes are representing Mongolia at the World Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships, launched today in Bangkok, Thailand. The competition is being participated by more than 600 athletes from 59 countries.

The world championships challenge the participants in 36 categories. Mongolian team is taking part in the bodybuilding, athletic, fitness, model and sports model categories.

The next world championships is to take place in Mongolia in 2017.

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Mongolian speed skaters set new national records in Minsk

November 29 ( Mongolian speed skaters have successfully competed in the Junior World Cup in Minsk, the capital of Belarus. International Sports Master B.Sumya and Ya.Zorigtbaatar, both from Mongolia, competed in the three Distance Classes of the tournament, which was held on 26th-27th of November.

Ya.Zorigtbaatar set a new Mongolian record of 37.94 seconds in the men's 500 meters coming 34th among 54 athletes; he also ran in the 1,000 meters coming 35th and in the 1500 meters where he as in 39th place among over 50 athletes.

B.Sumya competed in the women's three distance classes. She ran in the 500 meters coming 30th among 40 athletes. This has been her biggest success.

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Amateur national bowling league tournament crowns champions

November 29 (UB Post) Individual winners of the Big Bowling Friendship national bowling league tournament of the Mongolian Amateur Bowling Association were announced on November 26 at Big Bowling Center.

A total of 50 male and 16 female bowlers competed in the preliminary stages of the tournament. Twenty-four male and eight female athletes moved on to compete in the final stage.

In the men's category, Big Bowling Center's D.Batkhuu won the gold medal. He was followed by Head of the Photography Department at Unuudur Newspaper E.Khartsaga, and Petrovis LLC bowler J.Tsevegmid.

In the women's category, Mobicom Corporation's B.Orgilmaa seized the gold medal. The silver medal went to Ts.Urantsetseg of Ulaanbaatar Thermal Power Plant No. 3, and the bronze medal went to Sh.Gerelee of Strikes Club.

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Mongolian Student Sports Federation named best in Asia

November 28 ( The General Assembly of the Asian University Sports Federations (AUSF) was held in Xiamen, China on 20th-21st of November. At the meeting, the Mongolian Student Sports Federation (MSSF) was named best in Asia for success throughout last year. D.Jargalsaikhan, secretary of MSSF received the accolade on behalf of the federation at the ceremony. More than 150 delegations from 30 Asian countries participated in the meeting which was led by President Oleg Matytsin and Secretary General Eric Saintrod.

Between 2010 and 2016, the MSSF has sent 238 athletes and teams to 20 Asian championships, in which, young Mongolian sportmen and women have taken a total of 34 medals - 8 of them gold, 10 silver and 16 bronze. The MSSF also organised the 2012 Asian Women's Volleyball Championship in and the 2016 Asian Men's Basketball Championship in Ulaanbaatar. In addition, an assembly of the executive committee has been successfully held in Mongolia.

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The Mongol Rally Is a Guaranteed (But Super-Fun) Disaster

November 27 (Outside Magazine) How about this for a vacation idea? Fly to Europe, buy a beat-up clunker, then try to make it from England to Mongolia as fast as you can. There's no official route and no official rulebook. Photographer Drew Gurian and his brother, Scott, did just that this summer as participants in the Adventurists' Mongol Rally. They bought 990ML 60-horsepower Nissan Micras, and after 53 days, 18 countries, a couple broken axles, and an emergency extraction, they crossed the finish line. We talked to to the New York City–based photographer about some of his most memorable times on the road. 

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Art & Entertainment

At home in Hollywood: Recognition for Mongolian cinematographer

November 29 ( Mongolian producer and cinematographer D.Angarag has become an Academy Member, and now has the right to submit movies to the 'Oscars'. This also means that Mongolia has received the right to submit nominations for the Academy Award's "Best Foreign Language Film". The right will take effect on 15th of March in 2017. D.Angarag has submitted 'Golden Treasure' (Atgand uldsen erdene) by Khuvisal Productions for the Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars.

In addition, D.Angarag has qualified to be a member of Producers' Guild of America and will receive a confirmation document next year. His movies led the highest grossing films at the domestic box office in 2008-2016, making MNT 15 billion. D.Angarag has worked on famous Mongolia movies such as "Minii Khursh Chutgur" (My Neighbor is a Devil), "Bodliin Khulgaich" (Thief of the Mind), "Dev" and "Anu Khatan" (Queen Anu).

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Koryo Tours: Mongolia - Vast, Rugged Expanses

Beyond the Steppes

Join us as we uncover the stories surrounding this enigmatic country

We have worked closely with our carefully-selected Mongolian partners to bring you a tour which is more than just a simple visit to their country; this will be a trip that is full of excitement, adventure, and unforgettable moments. This journey will be unique, educational, and fun. This exciting tour will be led by our one of our most experienced tour leaders, Rich Beal. Rich has led tours all over the world, and is personally attached to this particular area, as he has over ten years' experience in running tours to the region. In Rich's words, Mongolia is 'an amazing gem' and 'one of my favourite places on earth both for landscape and people. I have always felt', he says, 'that when I leave this region the sky never seems as blue, the mountains never as beautiful and the people never as interesting'.

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'IT'S LIKE TIME TRAVELLING': Incredible photos of Mongolian nomad families braving extreme weather as cross ancient mountains look like images from centuries ago

Enchanting photographs chart the Kazakh peoples travails as they shift their entire lives across the vast expanse of wilderness

November 29 (The Sun) INCREDIBLE photographs chart these nomadic families journey across the brutal landscape of Mongolia as they move their entire lives 150km through the mountains.

Largely based in the west of the vast country, Kazakhs are a nomadic people who brave blizzards, extreme hot and cold weather and rocky mountain paths several times a year when they shift between their seasonal homes.

Videographer and photographer Joel Santos ventured to Mongolia's Altai mountain range twice to shadow families – who have never before allowed an outsider into their camps – as they made the breathtaking journey across the land.

The 38-year-old said: "Witnessing the migration is like time travelling. Once we were all nomads.

"Now, living sedentary in our overly organised cities, we might have forgotten what it's like to be deeply in touch with our surroundings and nature.

"In a way we might say that some of us are lucky to have better life standards, being able to live inside a protective bubble.

"But when we witness a migration and take part in it, we realise how plastic our life sometimes is and it helps our feet touch the ground again, generating a richer perspective of our lives."

After being run out of Kazakhstan by the Russians in the 19th century, many Kazakhs settled in Mongolia.

But through the generations they have maintained a strong connection to the tradition of migration.

Their migrations provide them with the best protection for each season, so many have a winter home with more permanent wood or clay houses, while in spring and summer they live in Gers – enormous circular tents supported by wooden sticks and clad in sheep fur.

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Mogi: didn't check all, but sounds about correct-ish

67 Interesting Facts About Mongolia

November 22 (Fact Retriever) --

1.    The country the world knows as Mongolia is actually the historic Outer Mongolia; Inner Mongolia is still an autonomous region of China.[26]

2.    Mongolia's capital is Ulaanbaatar, or Ulan Bator, which comes from the Mongolian Ulayanbayatur, which means "Red Hero." The city is not part of any Mongolian aimag, or province, and its population as of 2008 was over 1 million. The city was founded in 1639 as a movable monastery and changed locations 28 times before it was settled permanently at its present location on the Tuul and Selbe rivers in 1778.[19]

3.    Mongolia is the most sparsely populated nation in the world, with only 4.3 people per square mile.[19]

4.    Mongolia has a total area of 603, 909 miles2 (1,564,116 km2). It is slightly smaller than Alaska and is the second largest land-locked country after Kazakhstan.[19]

5.    From 1866, the word "Mongoloid," which literally means "of or like Mongols," was used as a term for people born with the distinctive features of Down's syndrome. Today, it is seen only as a racial designation.[14]

6.        Before it was named Ulaanbaatar, the Mongolian capital was called Urga, which is the Russian spelling of the Mongolian word örgöö, which is the name for the flap of felt that can be drawn over the smoke hole at the top of a ger or yurt. Used honorifically, Örgöödenotes not only the flap but the whole tent of an important person.[2]

7.    There is a theory that Mongolian horseman may have invented ice cream, when they took cream in containers made from animal intestines as provisions on long journeys across the Gobi desert in winter. As they galloped, the cream was vigorously shaken, while the sub-zero temperature caused it to freeze. The expansion of the Mongol Empire spread ice cream through China, from where Marco Polo reputedly brought the idea to Italy when he returned from his travels in 1295.[6]

8.    On September 17, 2011, 6,002 wrestlers participated in the Mongolian National Wrestling Match. It was the largest wrestling competition in the world, according to the Guinness World Records.[13]

9.    The Mongolian Stock Exchange is the smallest in the capitalist world and is housed in a refurbished children's cinema.[4]

10.  In Mongolia, there are 13 times more horses than humans, and sheep outnumber humans 35 to 1.[20]

11.  The current president of Mongolia, Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, attended both the University of Colorado–Boulder and Harvard University.[22]

12.  Genghis Khan was born in A.D. 1162 in Deluun Boldog, near the mountain Burkhan Khaldun, not far from the current capital Ulaanbaatar. Named Temüjin, he emerged at the age of 20 to become the leader of the Borjigin Mongol clan. After 20 years of internal warfare, he united most of the Mongol clans, and in 1206, he was named Genghis Khan, meaning "King of the Oceans" or "Universal King."[16]

13.  After Genghis Khan died in August 1227, his body was returned to Mongolia and buried in an unmarked grave, according to his request. At the time of his death, his empire stretched from Beijing to the Caspian Sea.[16]

14.  Mongol khöömii, or throat singing or overtone singing, involves producing two simultaneous tones with the human voice.[23]

15.  The Gobi desert, a part of which lies in Mongolia, is the largest desert in Asia and is the fifth largest in the world.[4]

16.  It was only in 2002 that Taiwan officially recognized Mongolia as an autonomous country and removed it from maps of China. Mongolia still endorses a "One-China Policy" and officially considers Taiwan to be a part of China.[4]

17.  Snow leopards are native to Mongolia, and one-third of the world's population lives there. A snow leopard cannot roar or purr.[12]

18.  The two-humped Bactrian camel is native to Mongolia. The annual Thousand Camel Festival has been hosted by a private group working to protect and preserve the Bactrian population in Mongolia, which has been steadily declining over the past 12 years.[4]

19.  Thirty-six percent of the Mongolian population is under age 18.[18]

20.  The Great Wall of China was actually built in Inner Mongolia in the 6th century A.D.[16]

21.  Mongolia is referred to as "Land of the Blue Sky" because it has over 260 sunny days a year.[14]

22.  Mongolia is said to be derived from the word Mongol, which is said to be from the word mong, meaning "brave."[2]

23.  Mongolia's national drink, fermented mare's milk, is called airag—or kumiss, in other parts of Central Asia.[2]

24.  Due to its high elevation, high latitude, landlocked location, and the effects of the Siberian anticyclone, Ulaanbaatar is the coldest national capital in the world, where the average temperature is -1 degree celcius.[14]

25.  Mongolian warlord Genghis Khan was voted one of Time magazine's "25 Most Important Political Icons of All Time" in 2011.[29]

26.  In 1922, American Roy Armstrong Chapman became the first human to unearth dinosaur bones from the Cretaceous period in Mongolia's Gobi desert. Some say Chapman was the inspiration behind the popular film character Indiana Jones.[1]

27.  The name Mongol was first recorded during China's T'ang Dynasty (A.D. 618–907). The Uyghurs, who now live in the Chinese province of Xinjiang, allied themselves with the T'ang and invaded Mongolia in 744. The Uyghurs controlled most of Mongolia until 840.[16]

28.  In the 1962, William Coperthwaite introduced a modern version of the yurt to the United States, after reading an article in National Geographic magazine with pictures of Mongolian gers.[7]

29.      Harold Lamb's 1927 book Genghis Khan: Emperor of All Men remains the bestselling biography of the Mongolian warlord.[11]

30.  An astounding number of people in Central Asia are estimated to be the descendants of Genghis Khan. Geneticists have begun to trace a variant of the Y chromosome transmitted only through the male line in the DNA of a huge number of Central Asian males—estimated at 17 million—who appear to share a common progenitor, dating back to the 13th century.[3]

31.  John Wayne played Mongolian warlord Genghis Khan in the 1956 Dick Powell-directed film The Conqueror. The movie was a box office flop and is still panned today.[21]

32.  Damdin Sükhbaatar, the "Father of Mongolia's Revolution" for independence from China and whose name means "Axe Hero," died at the age of 30. Early reports from his physicians said he died of poisoning, but later official biographies stated that he had died from tuberculosis.[2]

33.  The most popular Mongolian sport is bökh (durability),or wrestling, and the most important tournament is held on Mongolia's Independence Day. The first-place winner earns the right to call himself arslan (lion), the runner-up to an arslan is a dzan (elephant), and the third-place finisher is a nachin (eagle). Should the arslan win the tournament twice in a row, he will have earned the title avrag (titan) —the apex of Mongol wrestling, roughly equal to Grand Champion rank in Japanese sumo wrestling.[2]

34.  In Mongolia, wrestling is a tradition that goes back hundreds of years, perhaps further than recorded history. Chinese who visited Mongolia in the 7th century A.D. reported watching wrestling matches, and the chronicle of the Franciscan friar Carpini, who was in the Mongol capital of Karakoram in the 13th century, also mentions the sport.[2]

35.  A grandson of Genghis Khan, Kublai (or Khubilai) Khan, conquered China, ending the Song Dynasty, and became emperor of the Yuan Dynasty. Kublai Khan established his winter capital at Beijing, which was known then as Dadu (Great Capital). His regime left two major monuments in Beijing, which are still standing: Yonghegong (Lama temple) and the giant white stupa (mound-shaped Buddhist structure) in Beihai Park. Kublai Khan also built a summer capital in what is now Inner Mongolia named Xanadu (Shangdu), but there is nothing left of it today.[16]

36.  On November 26, 1924, the Mongolian People's Republic became the world's second Communist country.[27]

37.  Mongolia is one of the highest countries in the world with an average elevation of 5,184 feet (1,580 m).[16]

38.  Larch is the tallest tree in Mongolia, with the highest one recorded reaching 148 feet (45 m).[16]

39.  Mongolia State University is the only university in the entire country. Originally named Choibalsan University, it opened in 1942.[16]

40.  The main religion of Mongolia is Lamaism, or the Yellow sect of Tibetan Buddhism. It originated in Tibet around the 7th century A.D. Mongolian ruler Altan Khan introduced Lamaism to the Mongolian masses in the 16th century and he also first assigned the title of Dalai Lama to Tibet's religious leader.[16]

41.  Mongolian is a member of the Ural-Altaic family of languages, which includes Finnish, Turkish, Kazakh, Uzbek, and Korean among others.[16]

42.  Erdene Zuu Monastery, the oldest surviving Buddhist monastery in Mongolia, was built in 1586 in Kharkhorin. Today, it is located adjacent to the ancient city of Karakorum, or Harhorin.[16]

43.      Many Mongolians still live in a traditional ger, which is a type of tent. Also known as "yurts," these portable dwellings were traditionally used by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia as their homes.[2]

44.  Among the European travelers to cross the continents to China was the Venetian explorer Marco Polo (c. 1254–1324) who spent 17 years in China in the court of the Yuan Dynasty. He recorded his experiences in Il Milione (The Million), published in English as The Travels of Marco Polo.[8]

45.  Mongolia was admitted into the United Nations in 1961. The United States of America, along with 100 other nations, did not recognize it formally as a country in 1987.[26]

46.  Genghis Khan enacted a code known as the Yassa ("order" or "decree"), which enacted religious tolerance, exempted clergy of all faiths from taxation, forbade washing and urinating in running water, and prescribed the death penalty for spying, desertion, theft, and adultery.[26]

47.  Although Genghis Khan was illiterate himself, he introduced writing to Mongolia in the early 13th century by borrowing the script of the Uyghurs, who had taken it from the Sogdians (ancient Persians of the Achaemenid Empire). This script, which is written in vertical columns from left to right, is alphabetical but often ambiguous as some letters are indistinguishable from each other. Mongolia briefly adopted the Latin alphabet in the 1930s but then replaced it with the Cyrillic alphabet in 1941, adding two additional letters to represent the ö and ü sounds, not found in Russian.[28]

48.  The biggest sporting event of the year in Mongolia is the Naadam festival, held during the National Day celebrations each July. The most important events at the festival are called eriin gurvan naadam ("the three games of men"): archery, wrestling, and horse racing.[28]

49.  Kublai Khan established the first Pony Express-style postal services in Mongolia about 1,000 years ago when correspondence was carried by horse, and urgent messages—to which a feather was attached—were carried hundreds of miles a day on horseback nonstop. The Mongolian horse post became a special state service named örtöö("checkpoint"), which remained in operation until 1949. The route had fixed relay stations, situated some 18–25 miles (30–40) km apart. One of the many duties of the Mongolian mail courier was to carry out tours of duty with carts and animals at the örtöö, or supply a substitute, and carry mail or travelers to the next station.[28]

50.  The first Mongolian postage stamps appeared in August 1924.[28]

51.  The Mongolian traditional costume is called the deel, which is similar to a caftan or old European-style folded tunic.[28]

52.  Mongolia is the world's second-largest producer of Cashmere goat's wool, behind only China, with 20% of the world market.[10]

53.      Yaks are large bovids native to Central Asia and the Himalayas. Mongolians make cheese of yak's milk called Byaslag. Mongolians have crossbred cattle with yaks to produce an infertile male (dzo) and fertile females (dzomo). Mongolia has the second-highest yak population, after China.[15]

54.  Mongolian native horses are called takhi, the Mongol word for "spirit," and have 66 chromosomes, or two more than the average horse. They are the last truly wild horses left on the planet. The Tarpan, a Eurasian subspecies of wild horse found from southern Spain to eastern Russia, died out in the 1920s.[9]

55.  On December 21, 2005, George W. Bush became the first sitting U.S. president to visit Mongolia.[4][30]

56.  Mongolia's national dish is a steamed dumpling filled with meat (usually beef or mutton) called Buuz.[14]

57.  The Mongolian Lunar New Year begins in January or February with the new moon Tsagaan Sar ("white moon").[28]

58.  The only substantial Mongolian work existing from the Genghis Khan era is the partly legendary Secret History of the Mongols, which survived only in a version translated into Chinese.[26]

59.  In Mongolia, a hadag is a silk scarf, usually white,blue, gold, and orange, presented as a sign of respect to a high-ranking visitor or religious leader or as an offering in a Lamaist temple.[26]

60.  Przewalski's horse, or takhi in Mongolian, was named for Polish geographer/explorer Nikolai Przewalski, who was tasked by the Russian tsar to explore Mongolia in 1818–1819. In 1881, the new species was formally described as Equus przewalskii, after the colonel. After a period of extinction since 1968, in September 2004, 12 takhi hybrid stallions, two yearlings, and seven mares were flown from a reserve in Lozère, France, to Khovd, Mongolia, and then to a 6,000-hectare reserve called Khomiin Tal on the border of Khares-Nuur National Park, in an effort to return the world's last wild horse to its homeland.[24]

61.  Tamga is a traditional Mongolian stamp or seal, originally made of stone or metal in the times of the Mongol Empire. A letter sent by Güyük Khan to Pope Innocent IV in 1246 bears the stamp of the imperial seal in the Mongol script. After the 1921 Revolution, the government designed its own seals on the basis of the Soyombo (the national symbol). The word tamga is also used by Mongolian herders for livestock brands to identify ownership.[26]

62.  The Mongols were probably responsible for bringing gunpowder and firearms to Europe, when Genghis Khan organized a unit of Chinese catapult specialists. These men formed part of the first Mongol army to invade Transoxania in 1219. The Chinese had added catapult-thrown gunpowder bombs nearly two centuries earlier to their arsenal.[5]

63.  William of Rubruck, a Franciscan friar who traveled to the court of Möngke Khan between 1253 and 1255, published an account of his journey. Although it did not circulate widely in Europe, Roger Bacon, a fellow Franciscan, took a keen interest in Rubruck's account. Therefore, it may not be a coincidence that the earliest European reference to gunpowder is found in Bacon's Epistola de Secretis Operibus Artis et Naturae from 1267.[5]

64.  The current Mongolian national flag, adopted in 1992, is of three equal vertical bands of red, blue, and red. On the red band near the hoist is the yellow Soyombo, the symbol of the Bogd Khan monarchy which was adopted as the country's national symbol.[26]

65.  In the Persian city of Merv, an ancient center of learning regarded as the Pearl of Asia, Genghis Khan committed one of the greatest nonmechanized mass killings in history, second only to the massacres of Armenians by Turks in 1915. Apart from 400 artisans, Genghis Khan ordered the execution of the entire population. Historians estimate that as many as 1 million Persians were killed.[11]

66.  Under Kublai Khan's Yuan Dynasty Islam spread to Interior China. Marco Polo also records that the province of Yunnan under the Mongols was Muslim and had a Muslim governor, Sayyid al-Ajall. His descendants still number themselves today in China, and the tomb of Sayyid-al Ajall in Yunnan is an important monument of Islamic art in China.[17]

67.  Jügderdemidiin Gürragchaa was the first Mongolian to travel into space as a member of the eighth Intercosmos program on March 1, 1978. He spent 7 days, 20 hours, and 42 minutes in space aboard the Salyut 6 space station.[25]

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