Thursday, February 2, 2017

[MATD gets paid; KCC expands board; ERD raises $12m; MNT halts winning streak; 12-weeks yield 17.2%; and the rich donate to government]

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Thursday, February 2, 2017

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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

·         DBM confirms it will pay $580 million bonds on schedule

·         Petro Matad Secures Final USD5 Million Payment From Shell

·         Kincora strengthens board with new Chairman and Technical Director

·         Erdene Increases Previously Announced Bought Deal Financing to $12 Million

·         Mongolia Growth Group Provides Year-End 2016 Update

·         Aspire Mining: Quarterly Activities Report

·         TerraCom in Trading Halt Pending Update on Material Transaction

·         TerraCom: Quarterly Activities Report

·         Tian Poh: Quarterly Activities Report

·         Viking Mines: No On-Ground Activity on Mongolia Projects - Quarterly

·         Eumeralla Successfully Extends Chuluun Khoroot Exploration License – Quarterly

Local Market

·         MSE Trading Report: Top 20 -0.29%, ALL -0.02%, Turnover ₮13.7 Million Shares

·         MSE January Trading Report: TTL Most Traded, JGV Most Grown, BDSec Best Broker


·         MNT halts 9-day winning streak

·         BoM buys US$13m at ₮2,463, accepts $9.5m USD swap offers

·         BoM issues ₮152 billion 1-week bills, total outstanding +5.9% to ₮447.55 billion

·         Consolidated Loan Report of Mongolian Banking System

·         GoM sells ₮70 billion 12-week t-bills at 17.224% discount with ₮134.8 billion bids

·         Short term Government securities benefit buyers, but…

·         Tugrik expected to appreciate

Politics & Legal

·         Defacto Review: Erdenet, DP race, corruption index, pop protestors

·         Donation campaign launched in Mongolia to help ease public debt

·         PM commends senior economist's devotion to country

·         Law on Domestic Violence goes into effect today

·         MP S.Erdene wins the Democratic Party's chairmanship election

·         We need strong legislation and action to protect intellectual property

·         Conference discusses Darkhan's heating and water supply issues

·         Mongolia's disaster risk management decentralized

·         AmCham Daily Newswire for January 31, 2017

·         AmCham Daily Newswire for February 1, 2017


·         Mongolian suppliers account for 83 percent of OT underground mine contracts

·         Intensified farming supplying 30 percent of urban milk consumption

·         Housing price fall brings opportunities to investors

·         Mongolian Standardization Agency Joins ILAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement

·         Cooperatives "best option" for job creation and industrialization

·         Mongolia exports home-made 'Aduu' calcium supplement


·         License plate limitations to apply on pre-Tsagaan Sar weekends

·         UB City to cooperate with Dutch company for better parking solutions

·         National air pollution reduction program to be implemented

·         Air pollution protests gather momentum: "We are choking to death"

·         Mongolian winter smog surge 'hell' for children

·         "MNB against Smog" exhibition takes place


·         Russia, Mongolia to discuss plans to build dams in Lake Baikal area

·         First planning consultations of the Selenga 2017 Russia-Mongolia exercise are taking place in Ulan Bator

·         Mongolian and Kazakhstan Railways to cooperate

·         New ambassador of Turkey to Mongolia assumes office

·         Boosting Bahraini-Mongolian cultural relations discussed

·         Deputy PM meets Ambassador of Japan

·         Mongolian Ambassador to Sri Lanka presents credentials

·         Deputy Foreign Minister receives new Turkish Ambassador

·         Foreign diplomats engage in visa & migration talk

·         The Diplomat: 30 Years of US-Mongolia Relations

·         11th International Mongolian Studies Conference Held in DC: "Mongolia-US Relations: Past, Present and Future"

Health & Education

·         Construction of teaching hospital to commence this July

·         TIKA renders ambulance car to Khovd aimag

·         From Disability to Ability: to support the education of mobility impaired children

·         Penn State Law's first Mongolian students find warm, international welcome

Culture & Society

·         Lucky Paws NGO to hold a fundraising event on Sunday

·         World Vision delegates visit Tuv aimag

·         Man dropped off at Calgary hospital with fatal gunshot wound identified as Mongolian

·         Animal genetics: The bovine heritage of the yak

Nature & Environment

·         Save the Children: Rapid Needs Assessment Report Mongolian Dzud (Ver. 1)

·         Mongolia's Most Threatened Mammals

·         Birding Mongolia: "Gulling" the East


·         World bronze medalist Bandy team to compete in Asian Games

·         World number one judokas receive extra $50,000 from IJF

·         Mongolian sumo fans pay tribute to "Tokitenku" Khuchitbaatar

·         Boxer D.Otgondalai celebrates his Olympic medal

·         Runner B.Munkhzaya qualifies for IAAF World Championships 2017

·         Mongolia wins silver medal at Hakuho Cup 2017

Art & Entertainment

·         Ballet dancer D.Altankhuyag performs in Japan

·         'Khusugtun' to perform at UN Building in New York

·         Opera Tosca and Carmen to be staged this February

·         Live music band Madness to hold 'Friends' concert on Friday

·         State Philharmonic to hold Percussion Concert on Friday


·         Mega Maldives Air leasing MIAT Mongolian Airlines' B767

·         'Ethical Traveler' names Mongolia in best destinations list

·         Where In Mongolia: Ulaanbaatar Versus Karakorum




Int'l Market

DBM confirms it will pay $580 million bonds on schedule

February 1 ( Mongolia faces hefty debt repayments beginning in March, when payback time for a $580 million bond issued by the Development Bank of Mongolia comes around. B.Batbayar, executive of the Development Bank of Mongolia has confirmed that Mongolia will pay the debt immediately.

The source of the bond was the Development Bank of Mongolia with a 15% interest rate as of December 2016; the rate has now fallen to single digits. In order to avoid the repetition of similar mistakes, the Government of Mongolia has approved a law for the Development Bank.

Mongolia must repay USD 1.7bn-1.8bn over the next two years, including a swap agreement with China's Central Bank.

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MATD closed +2.74% on the announcement to 18.75p

Petro Matad Secures Final USD5 Million Payment From Shell

LONDON, February 1 (Alliance News) - Petro Matad Ltd on Wednesday said all the contractual and regulatory requirements for Blocks IV and V in Mongolia have been completed, and it has received its outstanding payment due from Royal Dutch Shell PLC.

Petro Matad had been awaiting a USD5.0 million payment from Shell as the final consideration for the oil major's decision to exit the joint development of the two Mongolian blocks.

This has been held up by technical issues with Mongolian authorities, but Petro Matad confirmed on Wednesday it has now received the money and has been assigned the two blocks.

Shares in Petro Matad were down 1.8% to 19.40 pence on Wednesday.

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KCC closed +6.52% Wednesday to C$0.49

Kincora strengthens board with new Chairman and Technical Director

·         Luke Leslie, instrumental in the formation of Kincora, and its capital market and M&A strategy since, appointed Non-Executive Chairman

·         John Holliday, currently Chairman of Kincora's Technical Committee, is appointed as Independent Non-Executive Technical Director

·         Changes strengthen the board and reflect the Company's exploration and further expansion strategy

VANCOUVER, Feb. 1, 2017 /CNW/ - Kincora Copper Limited (the "Company", "Kincora") (TSXV:KCC) announces the appointment of Luke Leslie as Non-Executive Chairman and John Holliday as an Independent Non-Executive Technical Director, effective immediately.

Luke is a seasoned natural resource specialist private equity investor, with previous M&A and capital market transaction experience, including having been based in Mongolia working on acquisitions in the mining and metals sector. John has a track record of success in global gold-copper deposit exploration, discovery and evaluation, particularly with concealed porphyries such as those that the Oyu Tolgoi-Tsagaan Suvarga copper belt is prospective for where Kincora holds the dominant regional landholding.

The structure of Kincora's existing Board, Technical Committee and Advisory Board otherwise remain unchanged following these internal appointments.  Further details on each of Luke and John can be found in the attachment of this announcement.

Sam Spring, President and CEO commented, "Luke and John have impressive track records in their respective fields and I am confident the new internal positions will only further support significant contributions to Kincora's exploration and expansion strategies." 

Luke Leslie, Non-Executive Chairman added, "Kincora has opportunistically used the cyclical commodities downturn to expand its footprint in Mongolia's prospective Southern Gobi copper belt, advance its extensive proprietary geological database and advance a number of prospective targets which warrant drill testing this year.

The region is now being transformed through billions of dollars of investment and new exploration activity, and we are well positioned to benefit from these developments."

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ERD closed -2.33% Wednesday to C$0.84

Erdene Increases Previously Announced Bought Deal Financing to $12 Million

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwired - Jan. 31, 2017) - Erdene Resource Development Corp. (TSX:ERD) ("Erdene" or "Company") is pleased to announce that due to strong demand, it has amended the terms of its previously announced bought deal financing to increase the size of the offering from C$10,000,760 to C$12,000,000.

The Company has entered into an amended agreement whereby Paradigm Capital Inc. as lead underwriter and Canaccord Genuity Group Inc. (collectively, the "Underwriters") have agreed to purchase on a bought deal basis 15,584,415 common shares of the Company ("Shares") at C$0.77 per Share ("Offering"). The Company has also granted the Underwriters an over-allotment option to increase the size of the Offering by up to an additional 15%, such option being exercisable in whole or in part at any time on or before 48 hours prior to the closing of the Offering ("Closing").

The Company intends to use the net proceeds of the Offering to advance its 100%-owned, high-grade Bayan Khundii and Altan Nar Gold Projects, and to further explore and develop the Company's other gold properties in southwest Mongolia, as well as for working capital and general corporate purposes.

The Closing is expected to occur on or about February 23, 2017 and is subject to certain conditions including, but not limited to, the receipt of all necessary approvals including the approval of the Toronto Stock Exchange.

In consideration for their services, the Underwriters will receive a cash commission of 6% of the gross proceeds of the Offering and shall receive such number of compensation options as is equal to 6% of the Shares issued pursuant to the Offering.

The securities described herein have not been, and will not be, registered under the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the "U.S Securities Act"), or any state securities laws, and accordingly, may not be offered or sold within the United States except in compliance with the registration requirements of the U.S. Securities Act and applicable state securities requirements or pursuant to exemptions therefrom. This news release does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any securities in any jurisdiction.

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YAK closed -7.14% Wednesday to C$0.325, MNGGF -1.12% to US$0.257

Mongolia Growth Group Provides Year-End 2016 Update

Calgary, Alberta, January 31 (FSCwire) - Mongolia Growth Group Ltd. (YAK TSXV and MNGGF - USA) ("MGG") or ("the Company") a commercial real estate investment and development company participating in the Mongolian economy, announces an update on certain year-end figures. Please note that the following numbers are unaudited and are subject to change. 

Portfolio Updates 

The Company continues to maintain high occupancy rates, despite increasing vacancy across the property sector. At the end of the quarter, retail occupancy was 95% while office occupancy was 78%. Additionally, the Company's new tenancy strategy at Tuguldur Center has experienced recent success and average weekly occupancy is now over 90%, which is a 1-year high. The Company did not dispose of any assets during the quarter. 

Agency Business 

The Company continues to increase the number of listings and invest resources into its agency business, including the hiring of additional agents. The Company believes that it now has one of the largest inventories of active listings of any agency in Mongolia. Unfortunately, demand for properties is low and with lease and sale prices declining rapidly, potential tenants and purchasers are holding off for lower prices, leading to less transaction volume than originally anticipated. Despite the anemic demand for property in Ulaanbaatar, the Agency business is beginning to add incremental revenue. For more information on available properties, please visit

Unrealized Change in Fair Value of Properties 

Following an initial review of its portfolio by a well-regarded international property valuation firm, the Company anticipates recognizing an impairment to the Fair Value of its properties during the fourth quarter as a result in changes in lease rates and property values since the end of the second quarter when it last recognized an impairment. 

Public Securities 

During the quarter, one of the Company's offshore subsidiaries, purchased 4,000,000 shares of Mongolian Mining Corporation (Ticker Symbol 975: Hong Kong Stock Exchange) at an average price of approximately 24.9 Hong Kong cents. The Corporation currently owns 19,000,000 shares of Mongolian Mining Corporation. 

Liquidity and Capital Resources 

The Company ended the year with approximately $1,800,000 of cash and cash equivalents and no debt, however approximately $670,000 of this cash balance relates to a refundable security deposit for an asset disposal, with the potential of being returned if the transaction cannot be completed. As of today, the Company has no certainty that this transaction will be completed. The Company remains concerned about its cash balance and is focused on increasing its liquidity position, despite the need to potentially sell assets at discounts to market prices. 

Normal Course Issuer Bid 

During the quarter, the Company repurchased 371,500 shares at a gross cost of CDN $123,525. Despite the expectation that the economy will continue to worsen for the foreseeable future and that AFFO will worsen with reduced revenues and currency depreciation, the Company believes that its shares are undervalued. However, the Company intends to be highly disciplined about its purchases due to its limited cash reserves and the continued economic uncertainty. 


During the fourth quarter, the continued decline in the Mongolian Togrog along with a rapid deterioration in business conditions continued to impact the Company. The Company is focused on maintaining its reduced cost structure while trying to keep occupancy at above market rates. Unfortunately, it is expected that operating results will continue to deteriorate in future quarters as the full scope of the economic crisis hits the property market. As there has been no catalyst to reverse the economic predicament, it is possible that this crisis may last for many years and the Company remains focused on selling property assets in order to ensure sufficient liquidity to survive a much longer and deeper crisis than previously envisioned. 

The Company will have a full overview in its year-end results. 

Non IFRS Measures

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AKM closed +3.45% Wednesday to A$0.03

Aspire Mining: Quarterly Activities Report

Northern Railways Investment Update

      First Stage Bankable Feasibility Study received and confirms that the Erdenet to Ovoot Rail Project is feasible.

      Discussions with Mongolian Government progressing to extend the time to complete conditions precedent for the Rail Concession.

      EPC funding negotiations continuing with China Development Bank and other Chinese Policy Banks.

      Report received by Northern Railways LLC from a specialist rail logistics consultant confirming the advantages of the Northern Rail Corridor for growing Eurasian trade and as part of China's One Belt One Road Policy.

      Northern Railways LLC and its advisers continue discussions with potential funders of the second stage feasibility study for the Erdenet to Ovoot Railway.

Nuurstei Coking Coal Project

      The ECJV received an Exploration Plan and Budget of US$1.5m to improve deposit interpretation and provide additional quality samples with the aim of converting qualifying Inferred Resources to Indicated and to support further economic studies.

      Scoping Study and Mining License Application process progressing.

Corporate Update

      A small A$218k placement was completed in the Quarter for working capital purposes and the US$2m loan announced in the September 2016 Quarter is now fully drawn down. Cash totalled A$1.1m at 31 December 2016.

      Seaborne metallurgical coal prices proved to be volatile during the quarter. March 2017 Benchmark Quarter prices set at US$285 per tonne. Spot prices have retreated from multi year highs in December but are still more than double 2016 lows.

      Mongolian coking coal exports to China have increased by 85% in 2016 to 23.5 million tonnes.

January 31 -- Aspire Mining Limited (ASX: AKM, Aspire, or the Company), focussed on the exploration and development of metallurgical coal assets in Mongolia and the rail infrastructure required to bring production from these assets to market, is pleased to present its Quarterly Activities Report to Shareholders for the period ending 31 December 2016.

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Link to Cash Flow Report

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TER closed A$0.039 on Tuesday

TerraCom in Trading Halt Pending Update on Material Transaction

February 1 -- The Directors of TerraCom Limited (TerraCom or the Company) hereby request a trading halt to be placed on the Company's securities from the commencement of trading on Wednesday, 1 February 2017.

The trading halt is requested pending an announcement by the Company in relation to an update on a material transaction. The Company has made announcements previously in relation to strategic acquisitions

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Cash at end quarter A$1.2 million.

TerraCom: Quarterly Activities Report

January 31 -- TerraCom Limited ("TerraCom" or the "Company") (ASX: TER) is pleased to present its quarterly activities report for the period ended 31 December 2016.



·         Continued strong signs of sustained commodity price recovery in both coking and thermal coal markets. Thermal coal closed the quarter at ~US$94 per tonne (up 88% year to date from US$50) and coking coal closed the quarter at ~US$225 per tonne (up 195% year to date from US$76).

·         Following successful roadshows in Australia and Asia finalised a strategic share placement of AU$4.0 million at $0.03 with new and existing Institutional and Sophisticated investors.


·         TerraCom through its wholly owned Mongolian subsidiary executed binding long form definitive agreements with a wholly owned subsidiary of the Kingho Group, one of the largest private coal companies in China, for a 5.5-year offtake of hard coking coal produced from the BNU Coal Mine in the South Gobi in Mongolia. The agreement is for a total of approximately 7.5 million tonnes over the term and has pricing linked to a commercially in confidence mine gate pricing structure that reflects the seaborne market. Payment terms are USD in the form of 100% Irrevocable Letter of Credit issued by a first-class international bank.

·         Recommencement of full mining operations at the Company's BNU Coking Coal Mine in the South Gobi in Mongolia.

·         The CHPP feasibility study was approved by Mineral Professional Council (MPCM). Currently, we are waiting for final Resolution of Chairman of Mineral Professional Council Meeting.

·         Subsequent to the end of the quarter, the Company is pleased to announce coking coal is flowing from the BNU Mine 10 days ahead of schedule to support the recently executed Kingho agreement.

·         Subsequent to the end of the quarter, the first 100% USD Irrevocable Letter of Credit (LC) has been received from the Kingho Group under the new sales offtake agreement for January / February 2017 production tonnes from the BNU mine.

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Cash at end of quarter A$72K. TPO last traded A$0.165 on July 13

Tian Poh: Quarterly Activities Report

February 1, Tian Poh Resources Ltd. (ASX:TPO) --


• The Company progressed with pre-feasibilities studies of its Nuurst Project.

• Funding options have been considered and the Company expects to release details of a capital raising in due course.


The Company is finalising arrangements for a capital raising, details of which will be announced in due course.

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Link to cashflow report

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VKA closed +15% Wednesday to A$0.023

Viking Mines: No On-Ground Activity on Mongolia Projects - Quarterly

January 31 -- During the quarter ended 31 December, 2016, Perth-based Viking Mines Ltd (Viking or the Company) activity was focussed on concluding the acquisition of technology metals projects in Thailand, and reviewing new mining project opportunities, while progressing Government approval of the sale agreement for the Akoase gold project in Ghana.

1. Thailand Technology Metals Acquisition

2. Akoase Gold Project (Ghana, VKA 100% - reducing to 0% upon completion of sale)

3. Berkh Uul Coal Project (Mongolia, VKA 100%)

No on-ground activity on the project during the quarter.

The Berkh Uul financial model presentation outlining the potential benefits of a mining project to the regional and State economy was lodged during a meeting with the senior advisory group within the Ministry for Mines and Heavy Industry (MMHI) in November 2016.

Viking has received informal advice that all proposals relating to changes to boundaries of protected areas affecting mineral licenses, introduced under Long Name Law in 2010, will be considered by MMHI immediately after the Lunar New Year holiday period which ends in mid-February.

4. Khonkhor Zag Coal Project (Mongolia, VKA 100%)

No on-ground work was undertaken on the project during the quarter. Joint venture partners are currently being sought to assist with development of the project.

5. Corporate

On 25 November 2016 Viking announced that it had completed a Placement to raise $1.27 million via a Placement to professional and sophisticated investors through the issue of 62.7 million new shares at 2.02 cents per share. Leading Perth based broker DJ Carmichael Limited acted as Lead Manager to the Placement and has accepted a mandate to be the Company's corporate adviser for the next 12 months. Funds raised pursuant to the Placement will be used primarily to accelerate exploration of the Company's newly acquired lithium project located in Thailand.

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EUM last traded A$0.071 on January 27

Eumeralla Successfully Extends Chuluun Khoroot Exploration License – Quarterly

January 31 -- During the quarter, on 5 December 2016, Eumeralla Resources Limited (ASX:EUM) (Eumeralla or Company) was pleased to announce it had entered into a binding heads of agreement in relation to the acquisition of all of the securities in unlisted Australian public company Ausmex Mining Limited (Ausmex) (Proposed Acquisition). On 29 December 2016, the Company further announced that, in accordance with the binding heads of agreement entered into by the Company and Ausmex, it had executed a formal Share Sale Agreement with Ausmex's security holders (Ausmex Vendors).

The effect of the Share Sale Agreement is that, subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions precedent, Eumeralla will acquire all the outstanding shares in Ausmex for consideration of 207,000,000 Eumeralla shares to be issued to the Ausmex Vendors.

Overview of Ausmex


During the quarter the Company was advised it was successful in its application, with the Company successfully extending the Chuluun Khoroot Tungsten Project licence until 26 September 2019 and reducing  the tenement area from 12,658 ha to 2,786 ha.


On 4 November 2016, the Company issued CPS Capital Group Pty Ltd (CPS Capital) 10,000,000 Options (Corporate Options) at a nominal issue price of $0.0025 in consideration of services provided by CPS Capital to the Company.

Each of the Corporate Options entitles the holder to one fully paid ordinary share in the Company. The 10,000,000 Corporate Options are exercisable at $0.045 on or before 31 December 2018 and will otherwise be issued on the terms set out in Annexure A of the Company's announcement dated 4 November 2016.

The Company further announced it will seek Shareholder approval for the issue of a total of 3,500,000 options to the directors and the company secretary (or their nominees) for no cash consideration (Incentive Options) in recognition of their services to the Company and to further incentivise their performance.

If approved, each of the Incentive Options will entitle the holder to one fully paid ordinary share in the Group. The 3,500,000 Incentive Options will be exercisable at $0.045 on or before 31 December 2018 and will otherwise be issued on the terms set out in Annexure B of the Company's announcement dated 4 November 2016.


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Local Market

MSE Trading Report: Top 20 -0.29%, ALL -0.02%, Turnover 13.7 Million Shares

February 1 (MSE) --

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MSE January Trading Report: TTL Most Traded, JGV Most Grown, BDSec Best Broker

February 1 (MSE) In January 2017, Mongolian Stock Exchange organized 23 trading sessions and traded 25.9 million securities worth MNT37.3 billion. The market capitalization reached to MNT1.44 trillion, which indicated decrease of 0.02 percent from previous month. TOP-20 index reached to 12,236.95 units and MSE ALL index reached to 840.91 units.

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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: Wednesday, February 1 Close










































































































































































Bank USD rates at time of sending: Khan (Buy ₮2,460 Sell ₮2,480), TDB (Buy ₮2,470 Sell ₮2,480), Golomt (Buy ₮2,460 Sell ₮2,480), XacBank (Buy ₮2,465 Sell ₮2,480), State Bank (Buy ₮2,460 Sell ₮2,480)

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

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BoM buys US$13m at 2,463, accepts $9.5m USD swap offers

January 31 (Bank of Mongolia) Spot trade: Commercial banks bid weighted average rate of MNT2451.34 for USD6.1 million, asked weighted average rate of MNT2462.30 for USD20.5 million and bid weighted average rate of MNT351.28 for CNY43.0 million respectively. The BoM bought USD13.0 million with a closing rate of MNT2463.00.

Swap and forward trade: The BoM received buying bid offers of USD2.5 million of MNT swap agreements and selling bid offers of USD29.5 million of USD swap agreements from commercial banks and the BoM bought USD9.5 million through USD swap agreements.

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BoM issues 152 billion 1-week bills, total outstanding +5.9% to ₮447.55 billion

February 1 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 152 billion at a weighted interest rate of 14.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

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Consolidated Loan Report of Mongolian Banking System

January 31 (Bank of Mongolia) --

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GoM sells ₮70 billion 12-week t-bills at 17.224% discount with ₮134.8 billion bids

February 1 (Bank of Mongolia) Auction for 12 weeks maturity Government Treasury bill was announced at face value of 70.0 billion MNT. Face value of 70.0 billion /out of 134.8 billion bid/ Government Treasury bill was sold at discounted price and with weighted average yield of 17.224 %.

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Short term Government securities benefit buyers, but…

Ulaanbaatar, February 1 (MONTSAME) The Government bonds with less than one year term are in high demand on the market. A total of MNT834 billion of government bonds were traded on primary market, 98.3 per cent of which had terms for 12-52 weeks or less than one year.

The interest rate of the Government securities, being higher than savings' interest rate, attract investment, as it allows earning high profit within a short term. During trading of this week, the Finance Ministry offered 39-week bond with 18.8 per cent interest rate and traded MNT15 billion bonds. Though it is beneficial to buyers, interest rate of Government retail securities to domestic market has grown significantly. The interest rate is higher than the 10.8 per cent interest rate of the bond issued to international market last time in April 2016 and even three fold the Chinggis bond's interest rate. Since the start of 2017, Government securities of MNT33.8 billion have been sold in four trades.

In 2016, the Government raised MNT280.4 billion bonds from domestic market.  A total MNT834.1 billion of government securities have been sold at the Mongolian Exchange Stock since the first release in November 2014. The largest securities of MNT510 billion in value were released in 2015 in the primary market.

Economists predict, an additional debt of MNT2.4 trillion will be created in 2017, out of which MNT1.7 trillion would be domestic debts. During the parliamentary discussion of the state budget of 2017, some economists warned that 70 per cent of all expected new loans would be spent for basic repayment of the Government loans, particularly 50 per cent of it would be allocated for basic repayment of securities released on international market.

In a time, when foreign investors' trust has weakened and national economy faces difficulties, the most possible buyers of the Government securities would be commercial banks. 98.2 per cent of the bonds issued in 2016 were bought by domestic investors and 1.8 per cent by foreign investors while in 2015, foreign investors' purchase occupied one per cent.

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Tugrik expected to appreciate

February 1 (Mongolian Economy) There has been a positive trend for the tugrik in the exchange market recently. Since November of last year, the Bank of Mongolia (BoM) has been reducing the supply of US dollars to the market from USD 270.1 million, going all the way down to USD 71.7 million in January. However, last week the central bank did not supply USD to the market through its regular auction, but on the contrary, it received an offer to buy USD 16 million from commercial banks. Golomt Bank believes that the tugrik is going to appreciate slightly against the US dollar rate this week as the supply of foreign currency is going to be greater than the demand according to the weekly estimates of the BoM.

There are several factors affecting the stabilisation of the exchange rate. One is the fact that Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi has started selling its West Tsankhi coal for USD 71.5 per tonne, and there is also news that the USD 76.5 million debt to Chalco has been resolved, with both of these affecting the market atmosphere positively. Thus, foreign exchange inflows will significantly increase and will impact the stability of the exchange rate.

In addition, the decision to build the "Erdenet-Ovoot" railway towards Khuvsgul was also reached. The preliminary cost of the 542 km railway with two main stations and eight crossings is estimated to be USD 1.3 billion. This news was also a positive signal for the currency market.

Moreover, Mongolia's trade balance showed a surplus of approximately USD 1.2 billion. However, this positive balance largely due to imports falling by 11.9 percent (USD 415.1 million), and not so much increased exports. Still, a foreign trade surplus is good for the stability of the domestic currency.

Foreign exchange rates have sharply fluctuated on five occasions since 2009. Sharp increases or decreases of the exchange rate are due to speculation, or in other words, currency exchange actors either buying or selling currency to take advantage of movements in the exchange rate. During such times, market participants become worried over when the exchange rate will fall again, and as a result, supply sharply increases when the rate decreases slightly, exacerbating movements in the rate.

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Mongolian Tugrik firmly rising against the US, February 1

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Politics & Legal

Defacto Review: January 29, 2017

January 30 -- Reviewed topics:

1. Erdenet ruling

2. DP Party race

3. Corruption perceptions

4. Pop protestors

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Donation campaign launched in Mongolia to help ease public debt

ULAN BATOR, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- A campaign calling for contributing to ease the government's mounting debt pressure is surging in Mongolia, as some wealthy citizens on Tuesday vowed to donate money to help the government tide over the difficult situation.

The campaign was initiated by B. Osorgarav, a local economist who appealed to all Mongolians and businesses to make cash donation for the repayment of foreign debt, among which a 580-million-U.S.-dollar loan is due on March 21.

Osorgarav donated 10 million tugrug (4,060 dollars), a gold ring, and 10 horses.

Delgersaikhan Borkhuu, owner of an iron ore mine and lawmaker from ruling Mongolian People's Party said on Tuesday he will donate 100 million tugrug (40,600 dollars).

He also urged other lawmakers and companies to follow suit.

"Monnis Group," a company specialized in re-sale of heavy mining equipment, pledged to donate 100 million tugrug (40,600 dollars), while Baterdene Dashdemberel, a wealthy coal miner, promised to donate 30,000 dollars.

On Tuesday, Mongolian Prime Minister Jargaltulga Erdenebat received Osorgarav and thanked him for his initiative to help the government ease the debt pressure, saying "Mongolia will pay the debt on time, fully and overcome the crisis.

"Parliament and government and other officials are working together for this goal. I appreciate your patriotism and initiative," he said.

Osorgarav pledged to continue to push the public donation campaign and meet with businesses and non-governmental organizations to raise funds for debt payment.

To pay the 580-million-dollar loan, the Mongolian government said it has set aside 200 million dollars out of its budget for this loan repayment and hopes to borrow the rest from other countries and financial institutions.

Currently, the Mongolian government is negotiating with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on a possible loan package, hoping to obtain 400 million dollars to 450 million dollars from the IMF.

Meanwhile, Mongolia faces another deadline in March 2018 to repay a debt of another 500 million dollars. Analysts said the Mongolian government has to borrow from other countries or institutions to help repay its foreign debt.

Mongolia's economy is now in midst of a severe economic crisis due to global commodity market downturn. Mongolia's economy heavily relies on coal and copper exports, which account for more than 86 percent of its total exports.

Some Mongolians did not applaud the public donation drive. Local economist Batsuuri Halta said the donation campaign attempted to hide the actual cause of the country's economic crisis.

Many economists said Mongolia needs to diversify its economy and reduce its dependence on the mining sector.

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PM commends senior economist's devotion to country

Ulaanbaatar, February 1 (MONTSAME) Prime Minister J.Erdenebat received State Honored Economist B.Osorgarav who initiated 'Helping Mongolia overcome economic difficulties' campaign on January 31.

On January 30, the senior economist held a press conference to inform the public of his initiative, and to announce that he would donate MNT 10 million, 10 horses and a gold ring to the Government to help recover the economy. The State Honored Economist has dedicated 50 years of his life to the country.

Following the economist's call for joining the initiative, MP B.Delgersaikhan announced that he would be donating MNT 100 million yesterday, January 31.

According to B.Osorgarav's estimation, if every citizen donates MNT 1000-2894, MNT 214 billion 692 million can be collected. And if government higher officials including MPs each donate MNT 20 - 100 million, and NGOs and other entities donate MNT 2-2.5 million, Mongolia can repay its debts and recover its economy.

The Prime Minister said, "There's a Mongolian proverb that says, 'Better break your bone than name', and the name of our country is what's most important to us. As such, there was a time when I said at a meeting that 'In order to overcome the economic difficulty, and save the name of our country, and if necessary, I will turn to the people of Mongolia without shame'. However, as of today, no such situation has unveiled itself before us. Mongolia can repay its debt, and overturn the economic decline".

"Most importantly, I truly respect your patriotic spirit and initiative to call for national integrity", the Prime Minister highlighted.

The senior economist expressed that he would continue with the initiative which has allegedly gathered support from more than approximately 100 thousand people since MP B.Delgersaikhan's announcement.

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Law on Domestic Violence goes into effect today

February 1 ( Mongolia's first-ever Law on Domestic Violence was approved in 2004. Although considered an important first step in addressing the long-ignored issue of domestic violence, it was largely ineffectual. It lacked adequate budgetary support and its provisions conflicted with existing laws, preventing proper implementation.

To create the proper infrastructure needed to support the Law on Domestic Violence, six other laws were amended, including the Criminal Code, Law on Law Enforcement, Law on Administrative Violations, Law on Criminal Procedure, Law on Marshals Service, and the Law on Victim and Witness Protection. 

Newly amended law is going into effect today.  

The law was created with the goal to make domestic abuse a criminal offense and to allow for appropriate punishments for the promotion of safety for victims and prevention of the recurrence of domestic violence. Under previous laws, domestic abuse had been considered a minor offense punishable by a fine. If the revised edition is approved, domestic abuse will be a raised to be criminal offense. The revised edition of the Law on Domestic Violence and Abuse will include a punishment of 1-3 months of imprisonment for domestic violence, 3-24 months of imprisonment for torture. Under the new law, a neighbor will be legally responsible to report domestic violence to the police if they are aware of it.

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Law to combat domestic violence comes into effectMontsame, February 1

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MP S.Erdene wins the Democratic Party's chairmanship election

February 1 (UB Post) The Democratic Party (DP) held an official press briefing at the State Palace on Monday, to announce the victory of MP S.Erdene in the party's January 29 election for a new chairman.

MP S.Erdene won the race with 85,000 votes from DP members across Mongolia.

During the briefing, former DP Chairman Z.Enkhbold stressed that the DP has become bogged down by the power of party factions and oligarchy, and that he hopes he is the last party chairman to be intimidated by the fractions. On behalf of the DP, he congratulated S.Erdene and wished him success in his work.

S.Erdene pointed out the importance of the Democratic Party's Sixth Congress making the decision to elect a new party chairman through votes from all members of the DP. Five candidates in the election travelled across Mongolia during the campaign to listen to the opinions of DP members on party reform.

S.Erdene said, "The five of us will work together to reform the party, and we have too much work to do because the presidential election will take place soon."

MP J.Batzandan, one of the five candidates, noted that the race for the DP's chairmanship was carried out successfully. He said he will actively collaborate with the newly elected chairman to successfully carry out all the reforms that were promised to party members during the election.

He said "Some complaints about this past Sunday's election have arisen, but it is an internal affair for the DP and we all work together for the DP's reform." S.Erdene says he wants the DP to become a party without factions and free from the influences of oligarchies.

The new DP Chairman graduated from the law school of Defense University of Mongolia in 1984. He began working for the DP as the head of the party's committee in Baganuur District in 1990.

S.Erdene served as Mayor of Bayangol District from 1996 to 2000, was Head of the Social Insurance General Office from 2004 to 2008, and was Minister of Population Development and Social Protection from 2012 to 2016. Since 2009, he has served as a Member of Parliament representing Bayangol District.

Following S.Erdene's victory, Speaker of Parliament M.Enkhbold received the new party chairman to congratulate him on his win.

During their meeting, S.Erdene pointed out that the DP and the Mongolian People's Party are the two pillars of the State of Mongolia, so the two parties must be "durable, straight, and strong". He added that the main purpose of the two parties is to develop the nation by maintaining friendly relations despite the differences between the two parties.

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We need strong legislation and action to protect intellectual property

February 1 (UB Post) The unauthorized publication of intellectual properties such as translations, books, theses, and other projects online, allowing anyone to read, download, or profit from  selling books, audio, and video of other people's legally protected work is not uncommon in Mongolia.

There are a lot of websites that give people illegal access to movies, books, and other creative properties without the creators' permission.

In 1993, the first law on intellectual property (IP) was adopted in Mongolia, amendments to the law were approved by Parliament in 2006, but we have had poor legislation to protect intellectual property rights for the past twenty years.

The Head of the General Authority of State Registration and Intellectual Property's (GASRIP) Intellectual Property Rights Department, E.Myagmardorj, stated that GASRIP received over 400 complaints concerning the violation of intellectual property rights in 2016, and a large percentage of them concerned films.

She added that some websites were shut down after being found guilty of breaking the law. In response to complaints received about bootlegged copies of books, GASRIP has confiscated books to stop sales.

Writer B.Saran pointed out that almost all writers have fallen victim to this kind of theft, and said that writers file complaints with state authorities to protect their intellectual property, but the state's authorities don't take immediate measures to address violations and many writers give up their fight against bootleggers.

The writer said that she saw a bootlegged copy of her novel "Queen Sorghaghtani" at a book store and tried to investigate who produced the copy of her book and was successfully selling it in the retail market, and how to find where  copies of her book were being sold, but she was unsuccessful.

Since filing a complaint with GASRIP to investigate the theft, she has not received any news of findings so far. When she asked an employee in charge of intellectual property theft about progress on her complaint, the employee told her that there were no funds to investigate her claim. B.Saran concludes that the state's intellectual property authority lacks the power to effectively act to carry out the law.

The problem is that many people don't know that intellectual property is a valuable asset. Many people file lawsuits over intellectual property, but they don't see results from litigation because laws and regulations to protect intellectual property are really murky in Mongolia.

How can we protect our intellectual property?

Groups bringing people together through common interests can have a great and direct impact on stopping intellectual property theft. Groups need to urge the state's intellectual property authority to carry out strong enforcement of intellectual property rights protections.

A group to protect the intellectual property of writers was formed a few years ago, and they signed a contract to collaborate with GASRIP. Unfortunately they are  not active in their efforts, so they  haven't made a significant impact on  protecting the rights of writers.

We need more and more active groups working to protect the rights of Mongolia's creative minds. Filmmakers, musicians, writers, researchers, and inventors are always facing the threat of intellectual property theft and are forming groups to deal with the challenges they face.

The groups have to contact consumers and businesses engaging with bootlegged products, and the groups' members need to find better channels to officially sell their own creative property.

The primary responsibility of these groups is to create a business relationship with consumers and the groups' members, and to monitor the implementation of IP laws. If the groups work at this, consumers would have access to higher quality products and creators would see more benefits from their products.

Creating this fruitful and collective system is of great importance to dismantling intellectual property theft.

A group to protect the intellectual property of composers was formed in the early 2000s, but they were ineffective. Since reforming in 2011, the group has worked very well to protect the IP of composers, and a number of clients are collaborating with the group by officially buying the rights to use music.

The group distributed nearly 100 million MNT to its members from profits collected for rights to music used legally in 2016. The group has established cooperation contracts with 16 international groups.

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Conference discusses Darkhan's heating and water supply issues

Ulaanbaatar, January 31 (MONTSAME) A conference on present situation and future goals of heat energy and water supply system of Darkhan-Uul aimag took place on January 27 in Darkhan city.

In his opening speech at the conference, S.Nasanbat, Governor of Darkhan-Uul province said "Construction of heat energy and engineering system of the province is facing challenges as it has been used for a long time and lifecycle of its equipment is already finished. Therefore, renovation with modern advanced comprehensive technologies is needed for its engineering infrastructures and system. Since the financial resources is the most important issue, today, we are discussing issues on financing, responsibility and public and private cooperation in this regard".

'Darkhan Us Suvag' Company has started using a telemeter on water loss. As a result of installing water metering at basements in the apartments, clean water loss peaked at 38 percent has been reduced to 18 percent.

Also, the company renewed 75 percent of its water pumping equipment in 2011 with non-refundable loan from the government of Japan. P.Ariundalai, Director of the 'Darkhan Us Suvag' company said "We are seeking for other services and technology to introduce by next year".

The conference was attended by authorities of the Ministries of Energy and Construction and Urban Development, representatives of state-run heat and electricity supply companies and governors of the province. Darkhan-Uul province has over 110 thousand population, of which 98 thousand lives in the central area of the province.

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Mongolia's disaster risk management decentralized

Ulaanbaatar, January 31 (MONTSAME) Today, January 31, a closing workshop is being held at UN House for a project titled 'Strengthening local level capacities for disaster risk reduction, management and coordination in Mongolia', co-funded by Government of Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, UNDP and Government of Mongolia.

Directed at facilitating a decentralized disaster management through sustainable prevention, response and coordination mechanisms, thus reducing vulnerabilities of urban and rural poor, the project was implemented during the time period 2013-2016. 

In 2002-2011, a three-phase project themed "Strengthening the Disaster Mitigation and Management System in Mongolia" was successfully implemented in Mongolia with the support of Government of Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and UNDP. "This was the fourth phase of the project with specific focus on local level disaster risk management", said Sh.Altanchimeg, National coordinator of the project.

"The project has achieved commendable results, which was strongly highlighted by an independent evaluation", remarked Daniela Gasparikova, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative during her opening speech.

"While this fourteen year disaster management programme between the UNDP and the Government of Mongolia is ending, our partnership will continue as we support achievement of SDGs. The UNDP is currently working with NEMA to support dzud affected herder households in overcoming harsh winter through an Early Recovery project", she said.

The project was co-implemented by Deputy Prime Minister's Office and National Emergency Management Agency in more than 10 target soums of 6 aimags and 2 khoroos of  Ulaanbaatar.

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AmCham Daily Newswire for January 31, 2017


Prime Minister visits dairy farmers

Summary: Prime Minister J. Erdenebat paid a visit to Bayanchandmani soum of Tuv Province. Currently, 30% of dairy products supplied to urban areas come from domestic producers. The PM noted that in order to support domestic farmers and dairy product manufacturers, and to protect domestic companies, limitations should be placed on the import of dairy products. After visiting the home of a local herder, the PM stated, "Herders should pay special attention to the quality not the quantity of their livestock and their products. Mongolian meat is the tastiest, but consumers from other nations are not aware of its quality. Therefore, we must develop the livestock sector to meet international standards, and our short-term goal is to bring our veterinary sciences to international standards and to heal our livestock. The government will focus on these areas and will bring youth to the livestock sector."

Keywords: agriculture, dairy, Prime Minister | Today /page A2/


Exploration authorized for 1.6 million hectares of land

Summary: Cabinet made a final decision on determining the coordinates for 1.6 million hectares of land approved for mineral exploration. Tenders for exploration licenses will start soon and new working group tasked with negotiating the use of the Gatsuurt mine was established. The working group is expected to resume the negotiations with Centerra Gold Mongolia in the near future.

Keywords: exploration licenses | The Century News /page 5/

Mineral Resource Authority of Mongolia contributed 183.3 billion MNT in state revenue in 2016

Summary: The Mineral Resource Authority of Mongolia (MRAM) expected to contribute 160.3 billion MNT to state revenue in 2016, but exceeded that figure by 14.4%, contributing 183.3 billion MNT in taxes. Income from the export of oil was 134.2 billion MNT, fees for special licenses contributed 34.6 billion MNT, reimbursements for exploration financing were 1.9 billion MNT, and other income was 12.5 billion MNT. In 2017, MRAM plans to contribute 232.6 billion MNT to the state.

Keywords: taxes, MRAM | The Century News /page 5/


Mongolian Agency for Standardization and Metrology joins ILAC

Summary: The Mongolian Agency for Standardization and Metrology has successfully joined the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC). By joining ILAC, the need for additional accreditation of domestic products, goods, and services will no longer be needed. Accreditation by Mongolian agencies and laboratories regulated by the Mongolian Agency for Standardization and Metrology will now be internationally recognized, with 121 testing facilities, 40 metrology agencies, and 11 technical inspection agencies now accredited by ILAC. Domestic manufacturers will now have greater opportunities to export their goods and products. As an international organization for accreditation bodies, 90 accreditation organizations from 87 countries have joined ILAC.

Keywords: standardization, science, technology |

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AmCham Daily Newswire for February 1, 2017


DP recommends an audit of Erdenet Mining Corporation

Summary: Parliament's DP Caucus convened to discuss the sale of 49% of Erdenet Mining Corporation, the governance of Mongolia, amendments to several laws, and amendments to the Constitution. The newly elected Chairman of the DP S. Erdene, stated, "If there was any illegal activity involved in the sale, law enforcement agencies should investigate the matter. The matter of 51% of Erdenet's ownership is not being discussed, and there are rumors of unethical business practices. Therefore, the DP believes that a working group should be established to audit and investigate the  51% as well as 49% stake in Erdenet."

Keywords: Erdenet Mining Corporation, Parliament, Democratic Party | The Century News /page 2/


An overview of U.S. investment in Mongolia

Summary: Currently, there are 322 American companies operating in Mongolia with 308 million USD invested in the local economy. The Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact was signed by Mongolia in 2007, providing the Government of Mongolia with 285 million USD in aid from the U.S. program to finance projects in six areas. Wagner Asia is a 100% U.S.-invested private company that provides products and support to the mining, construction, infrastructure, and energy sectors, and it is the biggest supplier in Mongolia. In 2009, Mongolian Railway bought an Evolution Series locomotive from General Electric Transportation which was leased by Ulaanbaatar Railway, helping to modernize Mongolia's railway system.

Keywords: investment, bilateral relations | The National Post /page 5/


OT Supplier Forum addresses domestic sourcing and transparency  

Summary: The Oyu Tolgoi Supplier Forum took place yesterday and focused on transparency and the value and challenges of domestic sourcing. Oyu Tolgoi (OT) paid 371.5 million USD to suppliers in 2016, and 279 million USD of that spending went to domestic companies. CEO of Erdenes Mongol Ts. Tumentsogt stated, "The Mongolian employees are trained under the supervision of international workers, and this cannot be quantified in any monetary amount." The Managing Director of OT, Armando Torres, noted that the company's core values are ethical business and upholding principles of transparency in relationships with suppliers. The company spoke to potential suppliers about the raw materials and products it will need for the development of its underground mine, and noted that the 623 of OT's 990 suppliers were domestic. OT's Chief Development Officer noted that as development continues at OT, the need for supplies will increase, creating the opportunity for domestic suppliers to increase their business opportunities.

Keywords: OT, Supplier Forum | Today /page A4/


National Program to Combat Air Pollution finalized

Summary: By the order of Prime Minister J. Erdenebat, Minister of Nature, Environment, Green Development and Tourism D. Oyunkhorol led a working group tasked with creating an action plan to combat air pollution. The working group's members include the Mayor of Ulaanbaatar, state secretaries from each of ministries, and representatives from a number of state agencies responsible for addressing environmental health and public safety. The working group has finalized the National Program to Combat Air Pollution, which will be carried out in two stages from 2017-2018 and from 2018-2021. The program will ban the use of raw coal by ger district residents, businesses, and organizations. The working group believes this measure will decrease the volume of pollutants by 80%, and that dust particles and sulfur dioxide in the air will decrease by 50%. The working group is studying the possibility of opening information centers focused on educating the public about advanced technology that can be used to combat air pollution. The working group also drafted bills and amendments on funding the fight against air pollution, protecting and restoring the environment, reducing pollution, and increasing public participation in pollution reduction efforts and monitoring. Starting on February 1, a survey will be conducted to determine which households are burning waste instead of conventional fuel and a further review of household living standards in ger districts will be carried out. The working group is also researching the possibility of issuing tax breaks for domestically made products meant to combat and reduce air pollution.

Keywords: air pollution, Prime Minister |

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Mongolian suppliers account for 83 percent of OT underground mine contracts

Ulaanbaatar, February 1 (MONTSAME) During the Oyu Tolgoi Underground Development Supplier Forum held on January 31, Oyu Tolgoi LLC reports that some 83 percent of all of its contracts were made with Mongolian companies, which equal to USD 760 million.

By the end of 2016, the company has worked with 990 suppliers, 623 of which are Mongolian. In other words, those Mongolian companies are managing 62 percent of all operational procurements.

The Supplier Forum, held at Shangri-La Hotel of Ulaanbaatar, attracted over 1,200 representatives of 675 national and international companies.

Since 2010, Oyu Tolgoi LLC has spent more than USD 6.0 billion for payment to contractors, royalties and salaries. The company paid USD 279 million to contractors and USD 210.6 million of taxes in 2016 only, said the acting CEO Stephen Jones.  

Last year, Oyu Tolgoi purchased USD 371.5 million of goods and services, USD 69 million of which were procured in Umnugobi province. A total of 6,244 jobs was provided directly within the sub-contracts and more than 35 thousand workplaces were promoted by the OT operations.

The underground mine is preserving 80 percent of the extractable reserves of Oyu Tolgoi.

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Intensified farming supplying 30 percent of urban milk consumption

Ulaanbaatar, January 31 (MONTSAME) Prime Minister J.Erdenebat visited a cattle farm and a herder's home in Tuv (Central) province on Sunday. Thirty out of the total 1,472 dairy farms in Mongolia are located in Bayanchandmani soum of Tuv aimag.

The intensified farming used to supply only up to 10 percent of the domestic milk consumption of urban areas 5-6 years ago. The share of farms in supply of milk increased to 30 percent as of today, as the number of dairy farms rose.

The Premier visited "Montarimal" LLC's farm, which sells over 370 tons of milk, 7 tons of meat and more than 50 breeding cattle every year. The Montarimal became the best farm of Mongolia in 2011. Starting off with 12 cows in 1992, the Montarimal is now operating with more than 300 cows of Holstein, Alatau and Normande breeds from Canada, France, Germany, Czech and China. The farm has a fodder mill, incorporating 25 ha field with irrigation, and 200 ha without irrigation. The farmers grow beet, oat, sudangrass and pea. The fodder meal production meets the cattle farms' needs, said the director R.Tsogtbuyan.

The farmers expressed their consent to the idea that Mongolia should somehow limit the dairy imports to protect the domestic productions.

PM J.Erdenebat said, while mentioning that the wintering conditions have gotten critical in more than half of the country's territory, the Government has been taking actions to support the herders. "The herders also have to try their best to overcome the difficulties. As for intensified farming, the Montarimal and similar companies are not facing as much difficulties in the winter. I got familiar with the operation of this model farm. However, there are still number of things to improve. The government will put more efforts in this direction", he added.

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Housing price fall brings opportunities to investors

Ulaanbaatar, February 1 (MONTSAME) Mongolia's construction sector constitutes about 4.0 percent of the national GDP. The sector have had its ups with annual growth of 10-16 percent and is now having its downs impacted by the restrictions in connection with the housing mortgage loans.

Only a quarter of Mongolia's 859.1 thousand families are living in housing apartments connected to central heating and power networks. Also, some 204.5 thousand families (40 thousand a year approximately) in Ulaanbaatar are expected, pursuant to the government's action plan, to move from Ger districts to housing apartments in the next five years, according to a study provided by the Ministry of Construction and Urban Development.

Currently, the construction companies are managing their marketings, by receiving old apartments or cars as advance payment and offering more viable options to their customers. Some companies are taking no pre-payment at all and instead are giving out apartments on conditions with monthly lease.

Nevertheless, the current drop of properties' price may be an opportunity for businesspeople who are interested in investing in the construction sector of Mongolia.

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Mongolian Standardization Agency Joins ILAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement

Ulaanbaatar, January 31 (MONTSAME) Mongolian Agency for Standardization and Metrology has become a signatory to Mutual Recognition Arrangement of International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation. Currently, it has signatories of 90 accreditation bodies of 87 countries.

There are 121 accredited calibration laboratories, 40 testing and 11 technical inspection laboratories in Mongolia. The Mongolian Agency for Standardization and Metrology has been a full member of Asia Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation since 2004 and a member of ILAC since 2007. The agency also has been successfully evaluated by peers from other accreditation bodies in accordance with the relevant rules and procedures in 2012 and 2016.

ILAC MRA provides significant technical underpinning to the calibration, testing, medical testing and inspection results of the accredited conformity assessment bodies and in turn delivers confidence in the acceptance of results. MRA supports the provision of local or national services, such as providing safe food and clean drinking water, providing energy, delivering health and social care or maintaining an unpolluted environment.

In addition, the ILAC MRA enhances the acceptance of products across national borders. By removing the need for additional calibration, testing, medical testing and/or inspection of imports and exports, technical barriers to trade are reduced. In this way the ILAC MRA promotes international trade and the free-trade goal of "accredited once, accepted everywhere" can be realized.

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Cooperatives "best option" for job creation and industrialization

Ulaanbaatar, February 1 (MONTSAME) Today, the 5th forum of National cooperatives was organized under the theme "Business development gate for cooperatives" by the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Heavy Industry, Mongolian National Confederation of Cooperatives together with cooperatives' unions and cooperative supporting organizations.

Minister of Food, Agriculture and Heavy Industry P.Sergelen noted that new cooperative movement has been developing for over the past 20 years, changing its characteristics and basic principles dramatically compared to cooperatives in socialist regime.

"- Cooperative development is beneficial proper option to create many jobs in short term with minimum cost and boost industrialization in a country like Mongolia, which has low population and small market. Therefore, the Government approved 'Social scale program to develop cooperatives-II' and has been implementing it with a view to improve collaboration between cooperatives and supportive institutes, increase cooperatives' contribution to society through creating favorable legal and economic environment, to develop small and medium enterprises intensively and improve competitiveness."

There are over 4200 cooperative nationwide. During the forum, some representatives of cooperatives expressed their appreciation that delivering incentives for animal skin, wool and cashmere through cooperatives have been effective way to support cooperatives and favor for cooperatives' participation in stock exchange trade.

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Mongolia exports home-made 'Aduu' calcium supplement

January 31 (MONTSAME) Mongolia has started exporting a home-made calcium preparation named 'Aduu' (literal meaning: horse) to the Republic of Korea and Japan. This is a brainchild of chemist D.Demberelnyambuu and product of 'Monchemo' LLC. 

Commonly used by domestic consumers as well, the calcium preparation is made of same ingredients and components for nutrition, a feature that ensures no side-effects for long-term take.

An experiment conducted on a mouse in collaboration with scientists from the Republic of Korea proved that the 'Aduu' preparation, composed of horse bone subdues osteoporosis. In order to strengthen bone hardness, the preparation is enriched with components including collagen, glucosamine, vitamins C, D3 and K, folic acid, copper, zinc and boron.

In recognition of his valuable contribution to Mongolian science, Dr. D.Demberelnyambuu was rewarded MNT 100 million by the Government of Mongolia.

Scientists found that horse has the strongest bone which is rich in organic substances, protein, collagen, growth hormones, micro elements and minerals. Though horse is 3-4 times heavier than human, its calcium intake is 30 times higher which means that horse bone has a high capacity to redevelop human bone cells.

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License plate limitations to apply on pre-Tsagaan Sar weekends

February 1 ( During the preparations for the Lunar New Year, jams have become the usual thing as the traffic from and to countryside increases. This movement especially hits hard UB streets with already jammed roads increasing the load by 2-3 times.

Thus, license plate limitation by even and odd numbers will be in effect on weekends starting Feb 11-12 and Feb 18-19 and following vehicle regulation is to be done;

  • Vehicles with license plate numbers ending with 0, 2, 4, 6, 8 are available on Saturdays of February 11st and February 18th from 10AM to 8PM.
  • Vehicles with license plate numbers ending with 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 are available on Sundays of February 12nd and February 19th from 10AM to 8PM. 

Moreover the change in restrictions will apply to the current restriction zones in the UB city, for instance, main road from Sapporo junction all the way to the 5 Shar junction is to be included in the winter restriction zone. 

This year, the First day of Tsagaan Sar occurs on February 27th and license plate limitation will not apply from the First day of Tsagaan Sar to Third Day of Tsagaan Sar (Feb 27 to Mar 1).

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Plate restrictions for Mongolian 'Lunar New Year', February 1

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UB City to cooperate with Dutch company for better parking solutions

Ulaanbaatar, February 1 (MONTSAME) On Fabruary 1, P.Bayarkhuu, Deputy Mayor of Ulaanbaatar city in charge of infrastructure and Ger district area development signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation with Weiss Co.Ltd. on introducing advanced technology to public transport of the capital city.

The MoU sets out to improve the situation in Ulaanbaatar of roads, car parkings and public transport. Mr Bayarkhuu shared, after signing the document, that a project named "Smart Parking" will be realized and that a working group will be formed immediately to launch implementation.

Weiss's advisory council president, Mr Paul Staartjes expressed his confidence in successful cooperation.

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National air pollution reduction program to be implemented

Ulaanbaatar, February 1 (MONTSAME) The Prime Minister J.Erdenebat has approved an order to establish a working group responsible for the implementation of the recommendation on "Air pollution of Ulaanbaatar city" by the National Security Council.

The working group is composed of Governor of the Capital and Mayor of Ulaanbaatar city, state secretaries of all ministries and heads of relevant agencies. The head of the working group, D.Oyunkhorol, Minister of Environment and Tourism presented about the arrangements carried-out by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism to the Prime Minister on January 31.

The working group had finished formulating a draft of the "National Program to reduce air pollution", which will be implemented in two stages, short /2017-2018/ and mid /2018-2021/ terms.

The program envisages cessation of raw coal consumption of households and public entities, decreasing the number of air polluting sources by 80 percent and reducing the amount of particles and sulfur dioxides in the air by 50 percent.

The Environment Minister continued to say "Currently, the working group is conducting a research with a view to establish "Information center for eco-friendly technologies" in Bayanzurkh, Sukhbaatar and Chingeltei districts to promote advanced technologies decrease air pollution to the public".  

Also, in pursuance to a direction of the Prime Minister, the working group has been drawing up amendments to corresponding laws and taking public suggestions online in order to indicate the responsibilities concerning environmental protection, air pollution reduction and rehabilitation and increase public participation, apart from a bill on establishing a fund against air pollution. 

From February 1, air pollution monitoring will be organized in Ger district areas to examine the burning wastes of households below the poverty level.

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Air pollution protests gather momentum: "We are choking to death"

By Casey-Ann Seaniger, B.Chintushig and B.Dulguun

February 1 (UB Post) The signs at Saturday's air pollution protest were stark: "Our children are sick and dying from air pollution", one read. "End the smog before it ends you", and "We are slowly dying."

More than 1,000 protestors, from the young to the old, turned out at Sukhbaatar Square to demand the government act on dangerous levels of air pollution.

The "Booj Ukhlee" protest, which roughly translates to "choking to death" or "feeling extremely frustrated and angry", was the third demonstration organized by a grassroots group of concerned citizens called Moms and Dads Against Smog (MDAS).

Organizers have collected 10,000 signatures on a petition, which calls on the government to implement a sustainable program with measurable results to reduce air pollution in the short, medium and long term.

Air pollution-related diseases are the top three causes of premature death in adults in Mongolia. In children, pneumonia caused by air pollution is linked to 15 percent of deaths, and hospitals are full of sick kids.

Seventy percent of PM 2.5, fine dust particles in the air, in Ulaanbaatar comes from coal-burning stoves in the ger district, with power plants, vehicles and industry making up the rest, according to a World Bank report.

In recent weeks, the anti-pollution message has spread internationally with demonstrations being held as far as New York City, Chicago, New Jersey and Virginia in the United States to Budapest in Europe where people are advocating for Mongolians' right to breathe fresh air.

Ulaanbaatar's PM 2.5 level is more than seven times higher than safe limits determined by the World Health Organization (WHO) and this figure is predicted to significantly increase over the next 10 years unless drastic change occurs.

It's no secret that dirty air is the capital's most compelling problem.

But for the first time, real momentum has gathered, which has put air pollution firmly on the national political agenda and spurred the government to act.

Last Friday, the Ulaanbaatar City Council approved a three-month air pollution reduction plan that includes installing more filters in stoves in the ger district, introducing better heating standards for apartments, creating new residential areas, and carrying out heating and technical upgrades at schools and kindergartens.

This adds to last month's move by Ulaanbaatar Mayor S.Batbold who announced a temporary ban on rural residents moving to Ulaanbaatar.

At Saturday's protest, The UB Post asked residents why they turned out to protest, how the pollution affects their daily lives and what they want to tell their government. Here is a collection of their responses.

Ts.Buyanduuren, 43-year-old, Bayanzurkh District 

"There are over a million people living in this city. In a couple of years, I'm 100 percent sure there will not be a healthy percent of us left. We are constantly being hurt health-wise.

"The right to live in a safe, healthy environment is being violated. Our constitutional rights are being violated. The reason why people don't leave (the city) is because of their jobs. The main reason for the air pollution is the ineffective government policy.

"Public rallies like these are important. Even though we are experiencing economic hardships, we are here because air pollution is very important to residents of UB."

B.Nomintuya, 15-year-old, Bayanzurkh District

"The air pollution level has got so bad that I can't see what's in front of me when I go to school early in the morning.

Just yesterday, my mother was driving and almost drove over a police officer because she couldn't see clearly in front of her.

"How long do we have to put up with this for?"

B.Gantumur, 35-year-old, Songinokhairkhan District

"I have three daughters and I am fed-up. In my district, it's so polluted that my children can't breathe properly and so many kids have lung infections.

"Since we can't do anything to reduce air pollution straight away, I want the government to make a policy for children, at least for the health of children. They promised they would give medicine to the small children but they haven't given any. The mayor says that the city needs more children's hospitals but the district mayor said there's no need for it. There's no unity on this issue, they just talk and talk.

"Public rallies like these are the only way the government will take attention and listen to us. I also oppose the restriction on the rural to urban migration. People are just looking for opportunities, if they have no herding in the countryside, they have to come here and look for opportunities. We should develop the countryside and create more jobs there."

B.Narmandakh, 35-year-old, Khan-Uul District

"If you go to the hospitals, many, many children are sick and many of them are dying because of air pollution. We are choking to death.

"I have a son and my son gets very sick in winter. We have spent lots of money putting him in hospital.

"I want our government to take proper action and not spend our tax money for nothing. There should be some results, we don't see any results, so I'm here today as a mother to demand our government take urgent action.

O.Saruul , 47-year-old, Chingeltei District

"This situation scares and worries me a great deal. I used to be a perfectly healthy person, yet I cough regularly now. I have bronchitis. I don't smoke cigarettes but I probably have more damage to my lungs than a person who does smoke.

"We came here for the future of our children but the air pollution affects all of us, regardless of age. The pollution does not only occur in winter. If you look closely, you can see the grey smog in the summer.

"My nephew cannot go to kindergarten, he goes for one day and comes back sick. He has taken leave from his kindergarten until March. It seems like he always has a cold.

"The main source of the air pollution is the uncontrolled spread of the ger districts. Poverty has caused this. How can we reduce poverty? We must develop manufacturing and create jobs. People won't burn tires to stay warm if they have adequate income. If they can't fully redevelop ger districts into apartments, they must at least develop the infrastructure of ger districts.

"I support the move to restrict rural to urban migration temporarily. This is the right step. They should have done this a long time ago. There are rights that every citizen is afforded but there are also responsibilities. People have not fulfilled their responsibilities."

B.Yagaantsetseg, 71-year-old, Chingeltei District

"The air pollution is too extreme. Just like people can't breathe in a crowded room, Ulaanbaatar residents are fighting for air due to overpopulation.

"The only way we can resolve this is by decentralizing and moving more services out of the city. The government should listen to us. If at least one government official participated in this protest and listened, it would've made a difference.

"We have enough policies and projects – all we need is to implement them. The government should also pay attention to other environmental issues such as water and soil pollution."

N.Khosbayar, 31-year-old, Bayanzurkh District

"I don't want to live amongst air pollution. Everybody is getting sick because of air pollution; my child, for example, caught the flu three times this winter.

"I also oppose the ban on the rural to urban migration. Developing the infrastructure of the electrical heating will help solve the problem. Limiting the movement of people to the city is only a short-term solution and won't help the real, long-term problem."

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Mongolian winter smog surge 'hell' for children

February 1 (France24) Several thousand people braved icy temperatures (-20°C or -4°F) in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, on Saturday, January 28, to join a protest demanding that the government take action against dangerous levels of air pollution. This city, whose residents rely heavily on charcoal burning to keep warm in the winter, is one of the most polluted cities on earth and locals are suffering from serious health problems because of it. 

The most recent protest was organised by the NGO "Moms & Dads Against Smog". This organisation, which is made up of concerned parents, was created in early January 2017, a few days after the first large protest about this issue, which was held on December 26. 

Ulaanbaatar is one of the coldest capital cities in the world. In the winter, temperatures can drop to -40°C (which is, weirdly enough, actually equivalent to -40°F). The city's 1.3 million residents account for half of the Mongolian population. 

To keep warm, many people use coal-fire stoves, especially people living in yurts [Editor's note: portable round tents]. About 60% of the population live in these traditional structures, many of which are clustered in the low-income neighbourhoods on the city outskirts that do not always have access to electricity. In addition to coal, some people also burn plastic and old tires, all of which leads to a large amount of pollution in the winter. Moreover, the population of these neighbourhoods swell during the coldest months, when nomadic herders set up their yurts to winter in the city. 

The pollution from households combines with pollution from the city's thermal power stations-- which run at full-speed during the winter. The air quality is further deteriorated by the city's factories and many cars. 

The result is that the concentration of fine particles in Ulaanbaatar is seven times higher, on average, than the standards established by the World Health Organization (WHO). In the winter, this can sometimes rise to 25 times higher than WHO recommendations. The capital becomes engulfed with a thick cloud of pollution, even though Mongolia is nicknamed the land of the blue skies.

Oyunaa (not her real name) participated in the protest this Saturday. 

I've been suffering from asthma for the past three years. I think it is very likely related to the pollution. From November to March [Editor's note: The coldest and most polluted months of the year], I can't go out of the house without wearing a mask. I avoid going to the office, because that means I have to go out during the morning and evening rush hours, when it is even more polluted. 

Most of the time, I work from home. I actually choose to live outside the capital during the winter [to avoid the pollution]. Sometimes, I actually go abroad during this period.

"I had two miscarriages-- the doctors told me that it was linked to the pollution"

When I was about 30, I miscarried twice-- once at 9 weeks and a second time at 12 weeks. The doctors told me that it was linked to the pollution and that it is a common occurence here. 

[When contacted by France 24, Batbayar Ochirbat, a health specialist who lives in Ulaanbaatar said that doctors had told him that they perform opertations to remove dead foetuses "five to six times a day because they die from pollution."] Now, I probably won't be able to have children because I am too old. 

I'm not the only person who suffers from this. I have lots of friends who have chronic coughs. My nephews and nieces constantly have colds, the flu or respiratory infections like pneumonia

The lungs of young children who grow up in the city are much weaker than those who are raised in the countryside. 

"We are slowly dying here… "

We are slowly dying here, but, for a long time, the government hasn't done anything about it. However, we are already seeing the impact of these protests. Starting on January 1, people living in yurts have had free access to electricity from 9pm to 6am as a way to get them to burn less charcoal [Editor's note: Many people use charcoal because it is cheaper than electricity.] On January 10, authorities also recognized that air pollution had reached a "disastrous" level. The government also decided to make certain medicine available for free for children under the age of five and to extend the hours of hospitals.

According to several studies, one out of every ten deaths in Ulaanbaatar is related to air pollution. Young children are especially affected by this problem, because their immune system and their lungs are not entirely developed. According to UNICEF, respiratory infections are one of the main causes of death amongst children. Pneumonia is responsible for 15% of deaths for children under the age of five. UNICEF also reported that air pollution increases the risk for premature birth. 

This article was written with the help of Alimaa Altangerel (@altanalim).

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"MNB against Smog" exhibition takes place

Ulaanbaatar, January 31 (MONTSAME) Mongolian National Broadcaster opened an exhibition against smog on January 29.

The exhibition is displaying various electric heaters, heat loss preventing eco devices, technological solutions for reducing air pollution, "Eco-device support" bank, financial and health institutions as well as providing information and solutions to curb air pollution for the public.

Roughly 30 companies including medical device manufacturer "Tun Farm" pharmacy, accumulated heater supplier "Monwatt", air filter distributors "KMG partners", "Khovd Tul", "Gorgas" "Khanan khishig", "Korea cable electronics", "Tsetsen khoshuu", "Eco tulgat", "Delger-Onon partners" and "Acrosstheworld" are introducing their products.

"MNB against Smog" exhibition will continue until January 31.

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Russia, Mongolia to discuss plans to build dams in Lake Baikal area

Russian environmentalists and scientists have long expressed concern about Mongolia's plans

MOSCOW, February 1. /TASS/. A Russian-Mongolian intergovernmental commission will gather in the first part of 2017 to discuss issues surrounding Mongolia's planned construction of dams at rivers that feed Russia's Lake Baikal, Russia's natural resources minister said.

"Naturally we are going to discuss all issues with our colleagues, including trans-border ones, namely Mongolia's HPP (hydroelectric power plant) project. As far as Mongolia is concerned, we plan to discuss it in Moscow. The date, in the first half of this year, remains to be set," Sergei Donskoi told reporters Tuesday.

The minister added that Russia was going to negotiate with China, which plans to build the dams in Mongolia.

Russian environmental and scientific circles have repeatedly expressed their concerns about Mongolia's plans to build three dams at rivers that feed Lake Baikal, the world's largest and deepest freshwater lake and a UNESCO Wolrd Heritage site. Under the plan, three dams are to be built: one at the Selenga River, that accounts for some 80% of all water that flows into the lake, and two at its main tributaries - the Eg River and the Orkhon River.

The announcement coincided with the unprecedented decline in the Baikal water level that started in fall of 2014 and continued through 2016.

Last year, Donskoi said Russia may offer Mongolia an electricity discount and lay additional power transmission lines to the country "in such way that electric power supplies will be more beneficial for companies than HPP construction.".

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First planning consultations of the Selenga 2017 Russia-Mongolia exercise are taking place in Ulan Bator

February 1 (Ministry of Defence of Russian Federation) First planning consultations of the Selenga 2017 Russia-Mongolia exercise are taking place in Ulan Bator this March.

The parties will approve the area of the exercise, number of forces and means, organization of logistics support, and order of crossing the Mongolian borders by the Russian troops involved in the exercise.

Selenga 2017 Russia-Mongolia counter-terrorist exercise is to be held in Mongolia in the second half of 2017. 

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Mongolian and Kazakhstan Railways to cooperate

January 31 ( A memorandum of cooperation was signed on Monday 30th of January by D.Jigjidnyamaa, director of the Ulaanbaatar Railway Joint Venture Company and Mr K.K.Alpysbayev, president of Kazakhstan Railways (Kazakhstan Temir Zholy or KTZ). The two sides agreed to exchange knowhow and to provide professional training; Kazakhstan will also supply diesel locomotives, rolling stock  and track.  

Kazakhstan has successfully developed its railway sector with high-end technology and produces a wide range of railway equipment. The total length of the country's railway network is 16,500 km.

Kazakhstan rail network also represents an efficient corridor in the "Eurasian Land-Bridge" project connecting Asia with Europe. The newly established transit freight rail link from China to London passes through Kazakhstan. The first cargo reached the British capital earlier in January 2017.

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Mongolia and Kazakhstan to cooperate in railway sectorMontsame, January 31

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New ambassador of Turkey to Mongolia assumes office

February 1 ( Today, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Turkey to Mongolia Ahmet Yazal presented his Letter of Credence to the President of Mongolia Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj. 

Following the ceremony, President Elbegdorj held a brief meeting with the Ambassador. 

President Elbegdorj congratulated the newly accredited Ambassador and wished success in his mission to enhance the mutual relations between the both countries. 

The President noted with satisfaction the development of the bilateral relationship in many spheres and highlighted the role of the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency /TIKA/ in this direction. 

President Elbegdorj noted that when he was the Prime Minister, Mongolian and the Turkish sides worked on a joint project to restore historical heritage sites of the ancient Turkic tribes in the Orkhon valley, Mongolia. 

Concluding the meeting, Ambassador Mr. Ahmet Yazal promised to put effort to deepen the mutual relations and cooperation between Mongolia and the Republic of Turkey.

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Ambassador of Turkey presents credentialsMontsame, February 1

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Boosting Bahraini-Mongolian cultural relations discussed

Manama, Jan. 31 (BNA): President of Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities (BACA) today discussed with Mongolian President's Envoy for Foreign Affairs, Lundeg Purevsuren, ways to promote bilateral cultural relations and exchange of expertise. 

BACA President highlighted Bahrain's keenness to build bridges of communication with various civilizations of the world. And touched on the BACA's 2017 cultural activities titled (If Our Antiquities Speak). 

The Mongolian Envoy commended the BACA President's efforts in enhancing cultural relations with his country, which enriches cultural movement in the two countries.

The Mongolian Envoy had earlier visited the National Theatre of Bahrain that represents a key cultural infrastructure pillar. He also visited the 43rd Bahrain Fine Arts Exhibition that will run until March 17.

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Deputy PM meets Ambassador of Japan

Ulaanbaatar, January 31 (MONTSAME) On January 31, Deputy Prime Minister, U.Khurelsukh received Japanese Ambassador Masato Takaoka. The Deputy Premier congratulated the Ambassador on being appointed to Mongolia and on presentation of credentials on December 26, 2016.

Deputy PM Khurelsukh underlined that Mongolia-Japan strategic partnership has reached a higher level, having achieved more frequent high-level interactions and deepened political trust. He also noted the Mongolian government recognizes the valuable role of Japan's support aid in strengthening Mongolia's democracy and reforms and laying the fundaments of modern development.

The Japanese side has been paying a close attention to relieving the economic and budgetary constraints facing Mongolia and to drawing support from partnering countries and international organizations. The Mongolian side has expressed an interest to launch the Third Phase of the Project on the Development of Small and Medium Enterprises and Environmental Protection.

Deputy PM U.Khurelsukh shared that Mongolia is having a public day of raising earthquake awareness and offered the Japanese Embassy in Ulaanbaatar to co-organize the first earthquake day of Mongolia on March 22.

While mentioning that Mongolia is set to host the next Asia Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in cooperation with the UNISDR, U.Khurelsukh expressed hope that the Government of Japan would be willing to help Mongolia with the organization of the major event, as important as the ASEM summit.

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Mongolian Ambassador to Sri Lanka presents credentials

Ulaanbaatar, January 31 (MONTSAME) Ganbold Gonchig, the newly accredited Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka presented his credentials to President Maithripala Sirise on January 24.

Present at the occasion held in Sri Lankan capital Colombo were P.B. Abeykoon, Secretary to the President of Sri Lanka, Mangala Samaraweera, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Esala Weerakoon, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other officials.

Following the ceremony, sides held a friendly talk during which the President talked about his efforts aimed at maintaining national unity, enforcing public order, eradicating poverty by ensuring economic growth, increasing employment, avoiding conflict and strengthening friendly ties with other countries. "Sri Lanka will support Mongolia in every aspect, and is willing to redevelop bilateral trade and economic cooperation", President Maithripala Sirise remarked.

For his part, Ambassador Ganbold conveyed President Ts.Elbegdorj's greetings, expressed his readiness to work towards developing Mongolia' friendly relationship with Sri Lanka in bilateral and multi-lateral contexts as the two countries share many similarities, and appreciated Sri Lanka's support in the process of Mongolia joining UN Human Rights Council.

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Deputy Foreign Minister receives new Turkish Ambassador

Ulaanbaatar, January 31 (MONTSAME) Deputy Foreign Minister B.Battsetseg met with Ahmet Yazal, Ambassador-designate of Turkey to Mongolia on January 30, 2017 in connection to his presentation of Letter of Credence.

At the beginning of the meeting, Ambassador Yazal presented copy of Letter of Credence to Deputy Foreign Minister B.Battsetseg. He expressed his pleasure to represent Turkey in Mongolia and stated to do his best to strengthen and develop relations in all fields of cooperation between the two countries during his tenure.

Deputy Foreign Minister B.Battsetseg congratulated Ambassador Yazal on his appointment and wished a success in his endeavors. Minister highlighted the importance of enriching and enhancing trade and economic cooperation within the context of the comprehensive partnership between Mongolia and Turkey.

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Foreign diplomats engage in visa & migration talk

Ulaanbaatar, January 31 (MONTSAME) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in cooperation with Mongolian Bar Association held a Forum on National Legal Environment on Visa and Migration Consulting Services at its building yesterday, January 30, gathering representatives of the Office of the Prosecutor General of Mongolia and foreign diplomatic missions in Ulaanbaatar such as of Australia, the US, the UK, Canada, Kazakhstan, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Vietnam, Germany, Italy, Cuba, Kuwait, Laos, the Russian Federation, Hungary, India, France and Japan.

During the forum, Mongolian Bar Association delivered a presentation on the result of a research conducted among Mongolian lawyers, current state of legal environment and future measures.

The Office of the Prosecutor General of Mongolia reported on the situation concerning criminal activities under the guise of visa assistance, their damage and legal environment for this type of crime.

The US Embassy representative talked about the embassy's workshop program designed to prevent from tampering with visa documents and applications. It was agreed that illegal visa assistance and fraud crimes should be reported to the Prosecutor General Office through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Mongolian Office of VFS Global which receives visa applications for 7 countries introduced its operations at the forum.

Held in the frameworks of an objective to improve international travel conditions for Mongolian nationals, set in the 2016-2020 action plan of the Cabinet, the forum concluded that Mongolian lawyers need to intensify their studies on foreign laws on migration, boost their capacities, and create a legal environment conducive to consultancy for citizens.

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30 Years of US-Mongolia Relations

Over the past 30 years, Mongolia and the US have expanded ties from the cultural to the military spheres.

By Bolor Lkhaajav

February 2 (The Diplomat) On January 27, 2017, Mongolia and the United States celebrated the 30th anniversary of their diplomatic relations at the Embassy of Mongolia in Washington DC. At the 11th Annual International Mongolian Studies Conference, titled "Mongolia-U.S. Relations: Past, Present, and Future," Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of State Susan Thornton, Mongolian Ambassador Extraordinary to the United States B. Altangerel, and the president of the Mongolian Cultural Center, M. Saruul-Erdene, exchanged celebratory speeches on the two countries' history, bilateralism, and Mongolia's third neighbor foreign policy. While the two countries have gone through different phases of development, reform, and economic booms and crises in their domestic environments, the achievements in their bilateral ties were rooted in shared principles and values. During the past 30 years, Mongolia and the United States have augmented relations through diplomatic means in the political, economic, social, and military spheres.

Mongolia made a few attempts to engage the United States even while still under the heavy influence of Russia and China. According to Monk L. Luvsanjamts, of the Mongolian Gandantegchling Monastery, religious doctrines from the Mongolian National Archives indicate that Mongolia-U.S. links date back to 1855, in the form of religious teachings. In 1913 and 1914, during the Bogd Khan monarchy, Bogd sent his foreign deputies to the United States for a diplomatic dialogue. This was shortly after the overthrow of the Manchu Qing Dynasty in China, when Mongolia had declared independence was but still claimed by the new Republic of China government. Interestingly, in 1899, future U.S. president Herbert Hoover visited what was then called Urga (today known as Ulaanbaatar).

Although Mongolia's request for diplomatic ties was rejected multiple times, each attempt illustrated Mongolia's reach beyond Chinese ruling. In a way, then, Mongolia's third neighbor policy emerged during the Bogd Khaan Monarchy, as Bogd purposefully sought diplomatic relations beyond China and Russia. The Mongolian government has thus shown remarkable consistency in its foreign policy ambitions. In 1961, thanks to a tremendous effort made by Prime Minister Tsedenbal, Mongolia joined the United Nations. With that move, Mongolia's foreign policy direction was becoming clear to Western powers.

On January 27, 1987, during Ronald Reagan's administration, Mongolia and the United States signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which declared diplomatic relations. One year later, in 1988, the first American embassy in Ulaanbaatar was established, with Steven Mann as the first ambassador. For the past 30 years, Mongolia-U.S. relations have involved spreading democratic values and human rights; advocating and implementing policies to enable a market-based economy; advancing people-to-people and military-to-military cooperation; promoting international peace and security; thwarting regional threats; and preserving wildlife and ecosystems. The U.S. supports and funds important sectors, such as education, health, and development.

Such cooperation is based on solid foundation of shared values. According to the 2016 Freedom House report, Mongolia scored an 86 (with 100 being the best possible score) in the annual evaluation of political rights, civil liberties, and freedom ratings. The United States scored 90 on the same report, illustrating the similar principles and values both countries abide by.

After September 11, 2001, U.S.-Mongolia relations expanded from political, economic, and social ties to boost military relations. The U.S. supports the modernization of Mongolia's military and its personnel by providing education and training in international peacekeeping and combat tactics both at home and abroad. After 9/11, American military activities increased, both bilaterally and via the alliance system. In 2003, a new military exercise, "Khan Quest," was conducted at Five Hills Training Camp. As U.S. Pacific Command Commander Admiral Harry Harris put it in 2016, "In 2003, Khan Quest began as a joint training endeavor between Mongolia and the U.S., and now, it's a premier peacekeeping exercise involving dozens of nations from around the world. This is a testament to the power of partnership." By conducting such multinational forces training, Mongolia's international recognition and accountability increases. Mongolian peacekeepers are becoming an important part of global peace and security.

In 2016, U.S. to Mongolia amounted to $28.4 million. These funds were used for education, development, and the health sector. Under the Trump administration, Mongolia does not expect any negative changes in foreign policy or bilateral affairs. In fact, the expected warming relations of U.S.-Russia relations may create opportunities for Mongolia to expand joint operations and economic ties in addition to its already existing participation in China's "One Belt, One Road" (OBOR) initiative.

Under Mongolia's constitution and 2011 foreign policy concept, Mongolia will keep equal partnerships with its two neighbors, Russia and China, but will seek other diplomatic relations as well. These "third neighbor" partners include the United States, Japan, European Union, India, South Korea, Turkey, and other developing democratic countries. Mongolia's "third neighbor foreign policy" allows for the expansion of partnerships via bilateral, trilateral, and multilateral agreements between regional and global actors; the 2011 foreign policy concept highlights such opportunities.

As Mongolia and the United States celebrate the 30th anniversary of their diplomatic relations, both countries seek to continue good relations to promote peace and security regionally and globally. With global politics changing so quickly, strong bilateral relations and mutual respect for law-based principles are crucial.

Bolor Lkhaajav is pursuing a Master of Arts in Asia-Pacific Studies at the University of San Francisco. Previously, Lkhaajav worked as a Security Analyst with Horizon Intelligence

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11th International Mongolian Studies Conference Held in DC: "Mongolia-US Relations: Past, Present and Future"

January 31 (MFA Mongolia) The 11th International Mongolian Studies Conference was successfully held on January 27-28, 2017 at the Embassy of Mongolia in Washington, DC and the Library of Congress.

Over 80 Mongolists from the United States, People's Republic of China, Russian Federation, former U.S. ambassadors to Mongolia and Mongolians reside in the United States participated in the conference, which coincided with the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and the United States. Moreover, with the very first live broadcasting of the conference on internet, many Mongolians and those who are interested in Mongolian studies worldwide, were able to watch conference's panels online.

Ambassador Altangerel Bulgaa, Ms.Susan Thornton, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Department of State , Dr.Saruul-Erdene Myagmar, President of Mongolian Cultural Center gave opening remarks. Ambassador Altangerel Bulgaa stated in his remark that "Not only has the three decades long cooperation broadened in many areas, including politics,commerce, defense, education and culture but also in mutual support on international arena which satisfies me". He also demonstrated that "This conference has been playing an essential role in promoting Mongolian rich history, language, culture and traditions throughout the United States as well as deepening the mutual understanding and friendship between our peoples".

The first day of the conference touched a theme "Mongolia and United States relations". Presentations on "30 years of United States-Mongolia Relations-Trends" by Dr.Alicia Campi, "The Significance of Mongolia's Third Neighbor Foreign Policy" by Dr.Bolor Lkhaajav (University of San Francisco) and "Contributions of Buddhist Monks for the Mongolia-United States Relations" by Mr.Luvsanjamts Davaanyam (Gandantegchilen Monastery) were made at the Embassy of Mongolia. The conference was continuously organized at the Library of Congress where Ambassador Altangerel Bulgaa gave a comprehensive speech on "Mongolia and United States Relations in 30 Years",  while Professor John W.Williams from Principia College  delivered the keynote speech on "The First Draft of History Has a Poor Memory: The Dilowa Khutugtu in American Journalism".

During the second panel of the conference held on January 28, topics such as Mongolian history, archeology, Mongolian community in the United States, philology were discussed. "Exploring the Significance of Values-Based Leadership Development in Mongolian Higher Education" by Ms.Alimaa Jamiyansuren (Pelegrine Academic Services), "Category of Unpleasantness' in Mongolian Language" by Dr.Saruul-Erdene Myagmar (Mongolian Cultural Center), "The Use of Information by Mongolians in the United States" by Dr.Ya.Borchuluun,  "Between Communist Doctrine and Nationalist Agendas: Writing Reform in Inner Mongolia, 1954-1980" by Dr.Anran Wang (Cornell University), "Ts.Damdinsuren and Mongolian Literature Studies in the 20th Century" by Dr.Wang Hao (Peking University), "The Buryat Literature in the Context of Literary Process in the Beginning of the XXI Century" by Dr.Larisa Khalkharova (Buryat State University), "A Tomb in Bayannuur" by Dr.Nancy Steinhardt (University of Pennsylvania), "New Scenes from the Xiongnu Times: The Khawtsgait Petroglyphs" by Dr.Christopher Atwood (University of Pennsylvania) and "Erdenetogtokh and Some Research on Modern Mongolian Language" by Dr.Khishigtogtokh (National Central University of China) were the presentions discussed and draw huge attention of the participants.

The Mongolian Cultural Centre, which  is a non-profit organization, established in 2007, has been promoting Mongolian language, culture in the United States and developing Mongolian studies through its activities such as organizing the annual Mongolian Studies Conference, involving Mongolian researchers in international conference, providing U.S. schools and institutes with Mongolian cultural lectures in English, organizing Mongolian band concerts, conducting Mongolian language summer camp school.

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Health & Education

Construction of teaching hospital to commence this July

Ulaanbaatar, February 1 (MONTSAME) A.Tsogtsetseg, Minister for Health received Masato Takaoka, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Mongolia yesterday, January 31, to exchange views on cooperation in health sector.

The Minister began, "Mongolia's health sector has an experience of closely working together with Japan", mentioning health projects and programs that are being implemented in cooperation with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The Minister also touched upon two projects to be realized in the near future, firstly the one to provide medical equipments worth MNT 11.8 billion to hospitals of 32 soums of 3 aimags this year, and the one to build a teaching hospital affiliated with the Mongolian National University of Medical Sciences next year.

Ambassador Takaoka said, "The construction works of the teaching hospital will commence this July. I hope that the hospital will be a big contribution to Mongolian health sector and services".

The Ambassador also mentioned about the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Mongolia which falls this year.

Moreover, agenda of the meeting included the introduction of Japanese judo acuclosure to Mongolia, 'Young leader' program in cooperation with Nagoya University of Japan and other cooperation projects and programs.

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TIKA renders ambulance car to Khovd aimag

Ulaanbaatar, February 1 (MONTSAME) On February 1, the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA) rendered a fully equipped ambulance car to the Department of Health of Khovd aimag.

Ch.Uranchimeg, Deputy Mayor in charge of social policy and B.Amarjargal, head of the Department of Health of the province, who were working in Ulaanbaatar received the assistance and held a meeting with the delegates of the TIKA and exchanged views on medical cooperation and so on.

Previously, the TIKA has presented ambulance cars to the authorities of the Departments of Health in Khovd, Bayan-Ulgii and Gobi-Altai provinces of Mongolia. The ambulances are devoted to the health care service for people living in isolated areas of the region.

The Department of Health of Khovd province is aiming to provide new ambulances to the hospitals of five soums. For the time being, Altai and Uench soums of the aimag have been supplied with ambulances.

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From Disability to Ability: to support the education of mobility impaired children

February 1 (Mongolian Economy) There are about 30,000 disabled children in Mongolia. Although 70 percent of them begin attending primary school, only seven percent go on to finish high school. Unfortunately, research into the causes of such sad statistics has not been conducted, but one would imagine they are not too hard to guess.

Hence, the "From Disability to Ability" project was initiated by a four-woman team of the Women's Leadership Program, which is funded by the Australia Awards and managed by Zorig Foundation. Their aim is to raise funds to fill two shipping containers with specially designed wheelchairs from Western Australia. The wheelchairs are designed by Wheelchairs for Kids, specifically for children aged 0-18 who weigh less than 65kg. This organization is composed of a group of retiree volunteers in Western Australia who, from humble beginnings, now boasts a volunteer work force over 100 people. Their wheelchairs are certified by the World Health Organization and are distributed to 74 developing countries around the world.

Another objective of this project initiated by the four women is to distribute 60 wheelchairs already in Mongolia to children attending five special education schools and the District of Chingeltei, and provide them with vitamin supplies, medical check-ups, as well as their parents and guardians with resilience training. A fundraiser is being held at the Best Western Tuushin on February 9th, the proceeds of which will go to the project (inquiry details below).

"Millions of wheelchairs are needed, but every one make a difference," it is stated on the Wheelchairs for Kids website.

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Penn State Law's first Mongolian students find warm, international welcome

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., January 31 (Pennsylvania State University) — When Dulguun Erdenebulgan came to Penn State to pursue her LL.M. degree, she didn't know that she was the very first Mongolian student to study at Penn State Law.

She didn't fully know what to expect on her first day as a student at Penn State, nor did she know that her decision to come to Happy Valley would help lead to several colleagues from her alma matter at the National University of Mongolia to also continue their studies as Nittany Lions.

But she did know one thing for sure: Once she got here, she felt at home.

"I don't think I'll ever forget my first day coming to Penn State," Erdenebulgan said. "The town was so nice, and I remember meeting so warm and welcoming people. Immediately, it just felt right."

Fellow LL.M. student Solongo Buyanbat says Erdenebulgan's decision to come to Penn State Law "helped create a bridge between Mongolia and Penn State." Now they are joined by fellow National University of Mongolia alumni Enkhtuya Baasankhuu, Nomin Zulbayar and Javzmaa Altanzul.

"Mongolia has a population of three million people, and five of them are here at Penn State Law, which is really impressive to me," Erdenebulgan said. "I think that really speaks to the level of diversity here."

Zulbayar agrees that the diversity of the Penn State Law student body is one of her favorite things about being a part of the LL.M. program, which is currently home to 88 students from 27 countries around the world.

"That's maybe what's been most important for me; you meet students from so many different backgrounds and places, and have the opportunity to work with professors in many different areas of law," Zulbayar said. "I have the opportunity to learn, not just in class, but from my peers, how things work in Europe, or India, or China, which is a very enriching experience."

Baasankhuu says she also appreciates the diversity of courses offered at Penn State Law. Whereas other universities she looked at offered only a limited scope of courses for LL.M. students, she was pleasantly surprised to find that she would have access to the wide range of Penn State Law's academic offerings.

"The school provides traditional courses, classes like Torts and Contracts, but also offers very modern courses on subjects like in-house counsel, representing entrepreneurs, and international financial law," Baasankhuu said.

Buyanbat adds that it's not just Penn State Law's course offerings that represent a modern approach to legal education — it's the school itself. She says the Socratic method of teaching helps her engage with the course material and the use of technology in the classroom (such as the class recordings she can watch later while studying) help her stay on top of her studies.

"Before I came here, I imagined law school as an old-school and old-fashioned kind of experience," Buyanbat said. "But once I got here, I realized our law school is very forward-thinking — and our building might be the most modern building here!"

Altanzul shares many of the opinions held by her peers, but adds that the location is one her favorite parts of studying at Penn State Law. She enjoys the surrounding town of State College, consistently ranked one of the safest cities and best college towns in the United States, and appreciates the natural beauty of the surrounding area.

"When I'm homesick I love to visit the reading room in our library, which has a beautiful view," Altanzul said. "Mongolia is a mountainous country, so I look out at the window at Mount Nittany, and I feel like I'm at home."

As the first Mongolian students of Penn State Law, all five women look forward to being part of the worldwide ranks of Penn State alumni, giving them a family not only in Mongolia, but around the world.

"Everywhere I go there are a lot of Penn Staters," Erdenebulgan said. "No matter where you go, if you say 'We Are!' you find someone who's lived here and studied here."

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Culture & Society

Lucky Paws NGO to hold a fundraising event on Sunday

February 1 ( Lucky Paws NGO is planning to spay and neuter 300 dogs in 2017, aiming to control animal numbers on the street by humane methods. In regards, the NGO is holding a fundraising event under the slogan "Preventative contraception would avoid unnecessary deaths" at Hard Rock Cafe on Jan 5th at 6 p.m. Live music bands including Nisvanis and Xvit to perform at the event while auction of paintings by artists S.Sarantsatsralt and S.Tugs-Oyun will be held. 

All profits from this event will be spent on spaying and neutering stray animals. 

According to unofficial study, 90 percent of ger district households in Ulaanbaatar city, out of total 200 thousand, have dogs and of which 20 percent of the dogs are female. It means 200 thousand puppies are born per year in the city. 

Thus, the spaying is the most humane method and cost-effective way.

Where: Hard Rock Cafe 
When: January 5, 6:00 p.m.
Tax: 30,000 MNT
Inquiry: click HERE

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World Vision delegates visit Tuv aimag

Ulaanbaatar, February 1 (MONTSAME) A delegation headed by Philip Ewert, National Director at World Vision Mongolia visited Tuv aimag.

During the visit, delegates discussed the result of the project implemented in the province and the World Vision Mongolia and Governor's Office of Tuv province established a memorandum of cooperation for 2017-2021.

Since the World Vision opened its office in Tuv province in 2004, it has been successfully carrying-out a number of projects and programs directed at boosting economy, education and children and promoting family income.

In the last 5 years, 9 types of projects and programs worth MNT 3.2 billion were implemented successfully in the province.

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Man dropped off at Calgary hospital with fatal gunshot wound identified as Mongolian

January 25 (Calgary Herald) A man dropped off Monday night at the Sheldon Chumir Health Centre with gunshot wound to the head has been identified as 22-year-old Itgel Baatarsuren of Calgary.

Police say the man who dropped off Baatarsuren at the health centre fled in a white Pontiac G5. The victim was rushed to Foothills Hospital, where he died.

Police continue to look for witnesses who saw the vehicle in the area of the 900 block of 26th Street N.E. between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Monday. Investigators believe the shooting happened in a parking lot in the area just before 9 p.m.

After the victim was dropped off at the health centre, police found what they believed was the same vehicle on 17th Avenue S.W. One man taken into custody for questioning was released Tuesday. 

A friend who attended Ernest Manning High School with Baatarsuren said he remembers him as a cheerful guy who was always there for his friends.

"His death will have affected a lot of people just because of how good a guy he was to everyone he encountered," said Mo Ellahib. 

"Hopefully his family finds closure."

Anyone with information about the car, the shooting or anything else relating to the case is asked to contact Calgary's homicide tip line, the police non-emergency number or Crime Stoppers.

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Family of Mongolian man shot in Calgary asks for privacy –, January 31

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Animal genetics: The bovine heritage of the yak

January 30 (Science Magazine) Though placid enough to be managed by humans, yaks are robust enough to survive at 4000 meters altitude. Genomic analyses by researchers of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich show that yak domestication began several millennia ago and was promoted by repeated crosses with cattle.

The first systematic genome-wide comparison of the genetic heritage of yaks and cattle shows that about 1.5% of the genome of Mongolian yaks is derived from domesticated cattle. While male hybrids are sterile, hybrid females can be backcrossed to male yaks for several generations, which allows for the stable introgression of short regions of bovine chromosomes into the yak genome. The results of the new study suggest that yak hybridization began thousands of years ago. Dr. Ivica Medugorac, who heads a research group in population genomics at the Chair of Animal Genetics and Husbandry at LMU, is the first and corresponding author on the new paper, which appears in the journal Nature Genetics. "Our results indicate that hybridization between yaks and cattle began more than 1500 years ago, and has continued with varying intensity ever since," Medugorac says, and points out that written records also testify to early hybridization of yaks by Mongolian breeders.

In collaboration with Dr. Aurélien Capitan of the Université Paris-Saclay, Dr. Stefan Krebs of the Laboratory for Functional Genome Analysis at LMU's Gene Center and colleagues from other European, American and Mongolian institutions, Medugorac has mapped the distribution of cattle genes in the yak genome. "Many of the genetic variants in the yak that can be traced back to cattle are found at gene loci that are known to play roles in the development and function of the nervous system. They have an impact on sensory perception, cognition and social behavior. Evidently, over a period of several thousands of years, Mongolian breeders succeeded in speeding up the domestication of the yak by crossing them with cattle, which had been domesticated thousands of years before," he explains. Furthermore, the traits that enable yaks to survive at high altitudes, in mountain ranges such as the Altai, the Pamirs and the Himalayas have obviously been retained during this process.

In the course of the study, the researchers identified a gene variant in Mongolian cattle and yaks that is responsible for the loss of horns. "We were able to show that this variant had been introduced into yaks from the domesticated Mongolian Turano cattle long ago," Medugorac says. Lack of horns (known as 'polledness') is, however, only one of the traits with which yak breeders attempted to tame the ferocious temper of the yaks. Interestingly, the polled variant in the Mongolian Turano cattle differs from the mutations known to be responsible for polledness in European cattle, which had previously been molecularly characterized by Medugorac's group in 2012 and 2014. These findings are already being exploited by breeders worldwide to select for polled cattle in order to avoid the painful procedure of dehorning.

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Nature & Environment

Save the Children: Rapid Needs Assessment Report Mongolian Dzud (Ver. 1)

Rapid Needs Assessment Report Mongolian Dzud (Ver. 1): Arkhangai Aimag, Mongolia, 10-14 January 2017

January 14 (Save the Children) I. Executive summary

For the second year in a row (2016/2017 winter), Mongolian families are facing a severe winter, known as a dzud. Despite a fairly good summer, heavy early snow falls in October 2016 followed by plummeting temperatures towards the end of the year, left a layer of ice on the ground, making it very difficult for livestock belonging to the country's 153,085 herder households (17.8% of total households of Mongolia) to graze. The heavy snow cover has also disrupted transportation and pushed consumption of fuel up, impacting the normal operation of education and healthcare services during the winter. Temperatures are expected to fall sharply again in a few days' time, from 18th January 2017.

In addition to the winter conditions, the following factors are compounding the problem for authorities and households this year:

  • Many herders' livelihoods were significantly affected by last year's dzud;
  • The price of meat and other animal products has fallen sharply;
  • State budgets for services including health and education have been cut; and
  • Local level preparedness particularly on reserve of hay and fodder is not sufficient due to consecutive severe winter and budgetary constraints.

Save the Children's assessment has found that the most vulnerable households, particularly herder households, are already struggling to cope with the impact of a second severe winter in a row; most herders have a loan from the bank and buy food on credit from local markets. Children – especially those from herders' families - are expected to be particularly affected by this crisis; the usually long journey to school at the beginning of term is now more dangerous, their schools and dormitories are incredibly cold, and respiratory infections are common, but access to healthcare is very poor. With their parents' struggling financially, children are arriving at school without warm clothes and without money to properly look after themselves, not to mention the psychological impacts of being separated from their parents for longer than expected with little or no means of communication.

In response to this situation, Save the Children proposes to implement a multi-sector programme aiming to protect livelihoods of most vulnerable herder households while ensuring the basic education and health services are provided to affected children.

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Mongolia's Most Threatened Mammals

Among all of Mongolia's native mammals, Bactrian Camels and Saiga Antelopes are critically endangered.

January 31 (World Atlas) Mongolia is a country located in East Asia, bordered by China to the south and Russia to the north. Mongolia is well known for the mighty Mongol Empire (1206-1368), the second largest empire in human history that was founded by the notorious Genghis Khan (1162-1227). As a country Mongolia's landscape is defined by the vast, rugged landscape of the Mongolian-Manchurian steppes region and the nomadic population that lives in this area. The country of Mongolia is home to a variety of threatened and endangered mammals, some of which are endemic species.

Threatened Mammals of Mongolia:

Bactrian Camel

The Bactrian camel is a large, even-toed ungulate (hoofed animal) that is a member of the Camelidae family. This species of camel is the largest living camel species on Earth. Its body and head varies from between 7.38 to 11.48 feet in length and its tail can grow to be between 14-22 inches. The species also has giant shoulders that range in height from 5.9 to 7.5 feet. The Bactrian camel can range in weight between 660 to 2,200 pounds.They have two large humps made up of fat, as well as long eyelashes, seal-able nostrils and broad toes, which helps with their ability to deal with sand and sandstorms. This species is found in the rocky massifs, stony desert plains, fringed oases and the high sand dunes of deserts. The species is found in the Taklamakan Desert in China, the Gobi Desert in China and Mongolia and the Trans Altai Govi Desert in Mongolia. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, the Bactrian Camel has been listed as a critically endangered species since 2002 and its population has been decreasing. The major threats the that species faces is having a fragmented habitat, having lost the western part of its original habitat range in Kazakhstan. The species is also being increasingly hunted by wolves due to a lack of water sources in the desert due to drought.

Przewalski's Horse

Przewalski's Horse, scientific name Equus ferus przewalskii, is a subspecies of wild horse that is part of the Equidae family of horses. This species is unique from all other horse species in that it has 66 chromosomes, instead of the usual 64. Due to loss of habitat the species is now mostly found in semi-desert habitats with limited water. This species was found the Russian steppes and eastwards into Kazakhstan, Mongolia and China but became extinct in the wild by 1969. Since then the species has been bred in captivity, and during the 1990s efforts were started to reintroduce them to the wild. The species is now found in the Great Gobi B Strictly Protected Area, the Hustai National Park and the Great Lakes Depression in Mongolia. According to the IUCN Red List, Przewalski's Horse has been listed as a endangered species since 2011, although its population has been increasing. The major threats that this species currently faces is from its small population, limited distribution, the risk of hybridization with domestic horses, and infectious disease.

Saiga Antelope

The Saiga is a species of antelope that is part of the Bovidae family of cloven-hoofed ruminant mammals. An adult of the species has a length that is between 39 to 55 inches and stands at a height of between 24 to 32 inches. This species has dark marks on its nose and cheeks, with a coat that can be yellow to red in color in the summer before turning a pale gray or brown color during the winter. The males of the species have horns. This species was once common in the area around the Eurasian steppes and its semi-deserts but is now regionally extinct in Moldova, Poland, Ukraine and China. The species is now only found in the Republic of Kalmykia in Russia, Kazakhstan and in western Mongolia, where the subspecies of Saiga Antelope is found. According to the IUCN Red List, the Saiga Antelope has been listed as a critically endangered species since 2002 and its population has been decreasing. The major threats that this species faces are from illegal hunting for their horns and meat, the loss of key habitats and migration routes, severe winters, steppe fires and a heavily skewed sex ratio within the species.

Conservation efforts surrounding the endangered mammals of Mongolia

There are many different actions that are being taken to try and help the threatened mammals of Mongolia. The government of Mongolia, as well as other the governments of other countries in the region where these animals are found, are setting up national parks and nature reserves to give these animals protected areas in which to live. There are also breeding programs in place to help encourage population growth.

Mongolia's Most Threatened Mammals

Mongolia's Most Threatened Mammals

Scientific Name

Bactrian Camel

Camelus bactrianus

Saiga Antelope

Saiga tatarica

Long-Eared Jerboa

Euchoreutes naso

Siberian Tiger

Panthera tigris altaica

Snow Leopard

Uncia uncia

Ussuri Dhole

Cuon alpinus alpinus

Tien Shan Dhole

Cuon alpinus hesperius

Przewalski's Horse

Equus ferus przewalskii

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Birding Mongolia: "Gulling" the East

part five: plantation of lords

January 31 (Birding Mongolia) During the few days (26 to 29 May) in the Khalkhgol plantation I searched for rare species every day. I turned each and every warbler and did the same with flycatchers, but the big hit—that would be a national first like Blue-and-white Flycatcher or a second for the country like Eastern-crowned Warbler—was unfortunately not among them, or I just didn't find it. On my first walk I found several rare or kind of rare birds though ("teasers": see here): about the 5th record for Mongolia of Forest Wagtail (teaser 3), a female White-throated Rock Thrush (teaser 4) and a female Yellow-rumped Flycatcher (teaser 5). The light was very poor but luckily all three of them stayed for more than one day, enabling me to get better shots. Since this was already my second Forest Wagtail (see here for the other one, 2011), out of three visits to the Far East of Mongolia during spring, it seems that the species is not a real rarity and the singing bird suggests that they might even breed somewhere nearby. If not in Mongolia, which does not have the right habitat (?), then across the border.

The well-skulking White-throated Rock Thrush is likewise not often seen in the country but if, then it is mostly in the east. This female was not so approachable but as it couldn't hide away inside the degraded plantation that easily, I managed to get half-decent pictures.

And the Yellow-rumped Flycatcher? Since territorial males are recorded every now and then, it cannot be regarded as a rarity, at least in the east. There is a single record from UB even, but further west not a single individual has ever been seen. A few should be on show to those observers taking the effort traveling to eastern Mongolia during spring and summer. I photographed three individuals, all of which behaved a bit skittish, naturally!

While I was on my walk through the plantation on 28 May I saw a bird in the air crossing a wide open space. It looked strange but fortunately it chose to land in the lonely dead tree (can a dead tree be lonely?) in front of me: it was a 2cy male Mugimaki Flycatcher. It decided to press on almost immediately so I got only a single shot (in much too harsh light). This species is recorded only very infrequently within Mongolia's boundaries although it might even breed in the taiga. It took me almost 30 visits over a period of 12 years to get it on my list. Surprising, indeed!

Two more species I got photographed that I would consider rare or more precisely: rarely seen follow. Eye-browed Thrush is one of them. Actually it is a regular migrant in small numbers but it also breeds in Gorkhi-Terelj National Park not far from UB. It is a rather shy thrush and thus quite often overlooked and, even more often, not photographed. During the storm a group of 8 foraged between the rows of bushes. They must have been quite exhausted to let me get that close.

The other species was a common migrant and breeder in Asia but is now on the brink of extinction: Yellow-breasted Bunting. I saw 2 birds in the plantation and could take photos of a 2cy female. The other was an adult female. It is a pity that such a beautiful bird is still being caught in huge numbers in China, where it is called "rice bird" for a very obvious reason: they are eaten! Now it is really a rare sight in Mongolia, even on migration and you need a great deal of luck to find one during a spring trip. Only tiny "left-over" breeding population pockets are currently known. Wake up, neighbours, and stop eating them all up!

I saw only two other rarer birds, actually it was only one that I saw alive: on 26 May found a bunch of oriole feathers under a bush, but they were only those small bright yellow body feathers that gave no clue to which oriole species had been killed. Black-naped Oriole is the more likely species, though.

On 28 May an adult Striated Heron flew down river but disappeared too quickly. They breed in very low numbers in the Far East of Mongolia. This time I could not find more rarities and did not even see a single Chinese Grey Shrike, a species that has bred in the plantation, but not this year.

We headed back to the west on 29 May but this part of the journey will be covered in the next post.

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World bronze medalist Bandy team to compete in Asian Games

Ulaanbaatar, February 1 (MONTSAME) On February 1, Mongolian bandy team returned home after their historic winning of bronze medal at the 2017 Bandy World Championship held in Sweden on January 24-29, and was received by Ts.Sharavjamts, Head of Authority of Physical Culture and Sports of Mongolia.

The Authority of Physical Culture and Sports of Mongolia expressed its support for the bandy team which has brought Mongolia's first medal from a world championship in team winter sport. The next stop for the bandy team is 2017 Asian Winter Games, which is to be hosted in Sapporo, Japan on February 19-26.

In the preliminary round of the championship, Mongolian team won their matches against Japan (10:2), Hungary (9:5) and Ukraine (9:6), thus making it to play-off. In the quarter-finals, Mongolia played Netherlands to triumph by 6:2; and in the semi-finals, Mongolia lost to Canada by 3:4. In the finals, Mongolia won Japan by 6:5 to win bronze medal.

Mongolian national bandy team competes in 'B' division of the world championship alongside 9 other countries including Canada, People's Republic of China, Czech Republic, Hungary and Japan.

The Mongolian team took 4th place last year in the same division of the championship. The Bandy World Championship has been organized since 1957 and Mongolia has participated 9 times since 2006.

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World number one judokas receive extra $50,000 from IJF

February 1 (Inside the Games) The International Judo Federation (IJF) has awarded an extra $50,000 (£40,000/€46,000) to the 14 athletes who ended 2016 as world number ones.

Seven male and seven female judokas have received the cash windfall following an announcement from IJF President Marius Vizer. 

One of those to benefit is Kosovo's Rio 2016 champion Majlinda Kelmendi, her country's first-ever Olympic gold medallist after the nation debuted at the Games in the Brazilian city.

She tops the world rankings in the women's under-52 kilograms division.

"This is a great moment for all high level athletes including myself," said Kelmendi, the 2013 and 2014 world champion.

"The IJF President, Mr Vizer, is thinking a lot for athletes. 

"I feel great looking back on my 2016. 

"Winning the Olympic title was the greatest achievement of my life."

Azerbaijan's Rustam Orujov is the men's under-73kg ranking leader after winning Rio 2016 silver.

"I am very happy that in 2016 I was the first in the world ranking," he said. 

"I won gold at the European Championships and silver at the Olympic Games.

"I want to thank the President of the International Judo Federation for this gift."

Other male winners of the prize money are Azerbaijan's Orkhan Safarov at under-60kg, An Baul of South Korea at under-66kg, Takanori Nagase of Japan at under-81kg, Mashu Baker of Japan at under-90kg, Elmar Gasimov of Azerbaijan at under-100kg and France's Teddy Riner at over-100kg.

The female winners are Urantsetseg Munkhbat of Mongolia at under-48kg, Sumiya Dorsuren of Mongolia at under-57kg, Tina Trstenjak of Slovenia at under-63kg, Kim Polling of The Netherlands at under-70kg, Kayla Harrison of the United States at under-78kg and Idalys Ortiz of Cuba at over-78kg. 

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Mongolian sumo fans pay tribute to "Tokitenku" Khuchitbaatar

February 1 ( One of the most famous Mongolian sumo wrestlers "Tokitenku" Altangadas Khuchitbaatar, aged 37, has died after a fierce battle with lymphoma. Tokitenku was diagnosed with blood cancer during the first 'Basho', bimonthly sumo competition, of 2016 while being treated for a rib injury.

It has been revealed that, A.Khuchitbaatar had been receiving radiation treatment for a year and had lost more than 20 kg.

Tokitenku A.Khuchitbaatar was promoted to the highest division of professional sumo in July of 2002, having won 548 bouts in the highest division through 84 competitions. He claimed victories in the bimonthly competitions, at least once almost in every division in which he was challenged. Just after his entry into sumo wrestling's lowest division, Tokitenku won his first three bimonthly competitions, beating his rivals in 21 consecutive bouts.

In March 2007, A.Khuchitbaatar was awarded the "gino-sho" - a prize for technique, and was promoted to the rank of Komusubi. This was his highest performance in the professional sumo.

A.Khuchitbaatar was a much loved and respected wrestler not only by Mongolians but  by the sumo fans around the world.

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Tokitenku A.Khuchitbaatar dies at 37 due to lymphomaUB Post, February 1

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Boxer D.Otgondalai celebrates his Olympic medal

February 1 (UB Post) Bronze medal winner from the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics D.Otgondalai celebrated his Olympic medal and new title of State Honored Athlete at One Event Hall on January 29.

D.Otgondalai received the State Honored Athlete title by decree of President Ts.Elbegdorj on December 2016.

He paid honor to his Olympic medal and new title, and expressed his gratitude to the visitors for their support during the Rio 2016 Olympics.

During the event, Khilchin Sports Committee of the General Authority for Border Protection promised to give D.Otgodalai a two-room apartment.

D.Otgondalai's family, friends, coaches and sports representatives attended the celebration event, and singer T.Delgermurun, leader of Niciton B.Batchuluun, State Honored Artist Kh.Lkhagvasuren and leader of Chinggis Khaan D.Jargalsaikhan performed for D.Otgondalai.

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Runner B.Munkhzaya qualifies for IAAF World Championships 2017

February 1 (UB Post) International Sports Master B.Munkhzaya raced in the 2017 Osaka Women's Marathon, which was held on January 29 in Osaka, Japan, and qualified to compete in the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships.

Runner B.Munkhzaya crossed a distance of 42.195 km within a time of 2:33:58 and came in 17th place. She will race in the IAAF World Championships, which will take place in the UK from August 4 to 13.

Top runners of the world compete in the Osaka Women's Marathon, and this year's first three places went to Japanese athletes.

Runners B.Mukhzaya and B.Dorjpalam of Mongolia are currently training in Japan and will return home at the end of February.

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Mongolia wins silver medal at Hakuho Cup 2017

February 1 (UB Post) The Mongolian sumo team won a silver medal at the seventh Hakuho Cup international junior sumo wrestling tournament, named after Mongolian Yokozuna (grand champion) of Japanese professional sumo Hakuho M.Davaajargal, which was held in Tokyo, Japan on January 29.

Mongolian junior sumo wrestler E.Javkhlantugs won a bronze medal in the 11-year-old category and received the Combative Spirit award.

A total of 1,270 junior sumo wrestlers from the USA, China, Japan, Mongolia, Thailand and South Korea competed in the tournament.

Hakuho M.Davaajargal visited the Mongolian junior wrestlers' training session during the tournament and gave advice on technique.

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Art & Entertainment

Ballet dancer D.Altankhuyag performs in Japan

Ulaanbaatar, February 1 (MONTSAME) On the occasion of the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and Japan, Mongolian Honored Artist, ballet dancer and Cultural Envoy of Mongolia D.Altankhuyag performed in "Swan Lake" ballet as a special guest at the invitation of the Japanese Tokyo Komaki ballet company in Tokyo on January 28-29.

In connection to the 45th anniversary, which is being marked this year, the Tokyo Komaki ballet company will perform in Ulaanbaatar next June.

The Tokyo Komaki ballet was established in 1946 and performed the "Swan Lake" ballet for the first time in Japan. In 2002 and 2012, the "Tokyo Komaki" ballet played in Ulaanbaatar on the occasion of the 30th and 40th anniversaries of the diplomatic relations between Mongolia and Japan.

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'Khusugtun' to perform at UN Building in New York

Ulaanbaatar, January 31 (MONTSAME) "Khusugtun" Mongolian ethnic ballad band will perform a concert named "Nomadic way-Living in harmony with Mother Earth" on March 9 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.

"Khusugtun" is an internationally recognized group that performs traditional music from Mongolia. They are especially renowned for their capella arrangements using 'khuumei' ot overtone-singing, which is an UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity from Mongolia.

The group has produced numerous works that feature elements of western classical music and musical instruments and techniques that form part of Mongolia's intangible cultural heritage, including the horsehead fiddle, zither, flute, lute, open-ended flute, various jaw harps and overtone-singing.

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Opera Tosca and Carmen to be staged this February

February 1 ( The Mongolian State Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet is set to stage both Mongolian and world classics in February, 2017 including opera "Tosca" by G.Puccini, "Carmen" by G.Bizet and tango ballet "Endless" by Kh.Altangerel. 

Tickets for the all performances of January will be sold at and ticket office of the Mongolian State Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet. 

Below is the Program for February, 2017.

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Live music band Madness to hold 'Friends' concert on Friday

January 31 (UB Post) Mongolian live music band Madness will perform "Friends" concert for their 20th anniversary at The Embassy Restaurant on February 3.

Former members of Madness will gather and perform with the group. Renowned Mongolian rock artists will also participate in the concert.

Madness was formed in 1997 and became one of the most popular live music bands of Mongolia.


Where: The Embassy Restaurant

When: February 3, 7:00 p.m.

Ticket Price: 20,000 MNT

More Information: 91913504

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State Philharmonic to hold Percussion Concert on Friday

January 31 (UB Post) Percussion Concert will be held at the Mongolian State Philharmonic on February 3.

Percussion ensemble and live music bands will perform at the concert.


Where: Mongolian State Philharmonic

When: February 3, 7:00 p.m.

Ticket Price: 20,000 MNT

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Mega Maldives Air leasing MIAT Mongolian Airlines' B767

January 31 (ch-aviation) Mega Maldives Air (LV, Malé) has wet-leased a B767-300(ER) from MIAT - Mongolian Airlines (OM, Ulaanbaatar) ch-aviation analysis of Flightradar24 ADS-B data has revealed.

Since January 21, EI-FGN (msn 30564) has been deployed on intermittent services to Shanghai Pudong, Beijing Capital, and Chengdu for the Maldivian carrier.

Using a pair of B767-300(ER)s and one B737-800 wet-leased from Travel Service Airlines (QS, Prague), Mega Maldives serves eleven destinations in six countries including China, India, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Saudi Arabia.

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'Ethical Traveler' names Mongolia in best destinations list

January 31 ( California-based 'Ethical Traveler', a nonprofit organisation which "empowers travellers to change the world, has named Mongolia in its list of top destinations. The NPO is a dynamic project linked to Berkeley-based Earth Island Institute. Each year, it produces a list of the ten most forward-thinking countries in the developing world. Mongolia was included in the top 10 destinations for first time in 2016.  

According to 'Ethical Traveler', each country is reviewed for its performance in the areas of human rights, social welfare, animal welfare and environmental protection. At the same time, it also needs to have plenty of appeal as a travel destination.

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Mongolia-one of the best ethical destinations for 2017Montsame, January 31

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Where In Mongolia: Ulaanbaatar Versus Karakorum

January 31 (Travelers Today) Although there are a number of reasons to visit Mongolia in 2017, it is easy to condense these specific motives into two words - 'exotic experience.' Seemingly, every aspect about Mongolia as a country is simply fascinating for outsiders. In terms of choosing a particular place to go when traveling in Mongolia, each city also brings its own unique features.  

Apart from the fact that this city is the international entry point, there are a number of reasons why one would choose to visit Ulaanbaatar. These are the following:

Period Juxtaposition

Almost all people who visit Ulaanbaatar can easily take note of the stark contrast of elements within the city's overall layout. While tall commercial and industrial buildings nestle around the iconic Chinggis Square, the city's rustic outskirts are strewn with traditional huts called 'gers.' Nearly half of the country's total population lives here.

Land of Modern Monoliths

Modern buildings are not the only huge structures towering Ulaanbaatar. This city is home to Mongolia's biggest and historically recent monuments. Among these structures include the renowned Genghis Khan statue, the biggest equestrian effigy in the world.

Ulaanbaatar Opera House

One of the best reasons to visit Ulaanbaatar is to see a live performance of classic and crossover music genre in the Ulaanbaatar Opera House. Established as early as the 1930's this cultural center has ties with other prestigious international ballet houses like the Boston Theatre.

A suitable alternative destination to the capital city is the countryside. Here are a number of reasons people would visit Karakorum:

Mongol Imperial Capital

The types of travelers who would love to visit Karakorum are those who are very fond of history. After all, this city was once the seat of Genghis Khan's vast Mongol Empire. What was left of the glorious imperial center is the famous Erdene Zuu Monastery.

Archaeological Treasure Chest

Speaking of old structures, Karakorum is the hotbed of Mongolia's archaeological activities. Contrary to popular belief about Mongols absent of engineering prowess, many scientists have been unearthing clues about Genghis Khan's heritage around Karakorum since the early 1930's.  

Endless Road Trip

One of the best reasons to visit Karakorum is its very long and winding highway. Adventurous visitors love to challenge their long-distance driving in Karakorum whenever they are traveling to Mongolia.

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Ulaanbaatar 14251, Mongolia

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