Friday, March 10, 2017

[WB requires complaint line; MNT gains for 4th day; population reaches 3.1m; and green credit fund to fight pollution]

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Friday, March 10, 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

·         Jan du Plessis to retire as Rio Tinto chairman after planned leadership transition

·         Mongolia Complaint Line Could Ease Investors' Woes, IFC Says

Local Market

·         MSE Top 20 +0.23%, ALL +0.16%, Turnover ₮76.2 Million Shares, ₮549.1 Million T-Bills


·         MNT gains for 4th day

·         BoM buys $14m at ₮2,465.88, declines $2m MNT swap offers

·         GoM sells ₮75 billion 28-week t-bills at 17.275% discount with ₮113 billion bids

·         ₮5 billion 2-year GoM bond auction fails to receive any bids

·         Mongolia's population reaches 3.1 million

·         London copper sinks to seven-week low on dollar, Escondida talks

·         No large-scale cuts from Chinese coal mines in 2017: NDRC

·         Gold Suffers Worst Run Since October as Slide Below $1,200 Looms

·         Iron ore slides amid rising inventories at Chinese ports

·         U.S. crude oil slumps below $50 after stocks build

Politics & Legal

·         Half-naked women demonstrate against corruption on Women's Day

·         President greets glorious mothers

·         TI finds police and health services the most corrupt in Mongolia

·         Private Sector Leaders Call For a Long-term and Stable Law and Policy at AmCham Monthly Meeting

·         PS: Constitutional Reform & Double Deel

·         AmCham Daily Newswire for March 9, 2017


·         "Goo" Mongolian organic cosmetic products in demand

·         Gold industry forum taking place next week

·         Women in Business 2017 gala night event on Friday

·         Green Credit Fund: Financial Weapon Against Air Pollution

·         New TV station opens in Dundgobi aimag

·         ACMS Speaker Series: Bruno Grunau, Cold Climate Housing Research Center

·         Tengri at Vancouver Fashion Week Fall-Winter 2017

·         EU Call for Proposals: EIDHR Country-Based Support Schemes 2017 for Mongolia


·         Monthly Rental Rates for Ulaanbaatar Apartments by District

·         UB city to implement "One Job for One Family" program in 2017-2020

·         Capital administration honors 9 women

·         Movie Afternoon: Hunt for the Wilderpeople, March 11

·         Dreamers' Day at iCinema: The World of Kanako, March 11

·         'Sky Resort Open 2017' and DJ festival, March 11

·         Concert by Braids in Ulaanbaatar, March 11


·         Speaker of Mongolian Parliament to visit Japan this month

·         Far East Affairs: Mongolia and Japan

·         Deputy Foreign Minister visits Singapore

·         8th Francophone Film Festival at Tengis Cinema, March 10-12

·         India Can't Be Mongolia

Health & Education

·         Q3 school holidays to start on March 30

Culture & Society

·         Mongolian livestock herders affected by climate change sent crucial supplies

·         Nomad 2017 photo tour highlights the camel

·         Berkeley event: Evolution of the 20th century Mongolia/China border, in maps

·         The Cartographic Evolution of the Sino-Mongolian Border at Zamyn Üüd/Erlian

·         Looking Into The Horse Milk Story That The Dalai Lama Told John Oliver

Nature & Environment

·         The Interactions Between Precipitation, Vegetation and Dust Emission Over Semi-Arid Mongolia


·         Mongolian MMA fighter to compete for one million dollar prize

·         National academy of freestyle wrestling established

·         Mandakhnaran Ganzorig takes 6th place in world wresting ranking

·         FIBA-endorsed 3x3 basketball workshop to be held in Mongolia

Art & Entertainment

·         "If I were a magician" short film competition announced

·         Imax Awards to select best Mongolian films of 2016


·         How to exchange your foreign driving license for Mongolian

·         Mongolia participating in ITB Berlin 2017

·         Barclay Travel: Sidegames in Mongolia

·         Redditors want more information about this photographer riding across Mongolia on horseback




Int'l Market

TRQ closed -1.9% Thursday to US$3.09

Jan du Plessis to retire as Rio Tinto chairman after planned leadership transition

March 9 -- Rio Tinto chairman Jan du Plessis has informed the board that he intends to retire as chairman after the completion of an orderly succession process.

Planning for chair succession by the Rio Tinto board commenced in June 2016 after the announcement of the appointment of J-S Jacques as chief executive. Rio Tinto senior independent director John Varley is leading the process to appoint a new chairman. A successor is expected to be announced before the end of 2017, with Mr du Plessis retiring as chairman by no later than the 2018 annual general meeting in Australia.  

Mr du Plessis said "When we announced the appointment of J-S as chief executive a year ago, I committed to the board to serve as chairman for another two years, as part of a planned leadership transition. Today's announcement is the next step in that plan. I remain committed to leading the board until I stand down, supporting the management team and ensuring an orderly handover to my successor. 

"It has been a great privilege to chair Rio Tinto over the past eight years, during which time I have worked with some outstanding people across the business. The company has withstood the challenges of a cyclical industry and performed well. We have a robust balance sheet and a strong management team, led by an impressive chief executive in J-S Jacques." 

BT Group plc announced today that Mr du Plessis will join their board as a non-executive director on 1 June 2017 and become chairman of BT with effect from 1 November 2017.

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Mongolia Complaint Line Could Ease Investors' Woes, IFC Says

By Michael Kohn

March 9 (Bloomberg) -- The World Bank and the International Finance Corporation will help Mongolia activate a complaint system allowing investors a more direct line of communication with the prime minister's office after previous disputes led to a drop-off in foreign investment.

Establishing the complaint mechanism under the Council for Protecting Investors' Rights was a requirement for funding by the World Bank, Tuyen Nguyen, the IFC's resident representative for Mongolia, said in Ulaanbaatar.

The Systematic Response Mechanism will be available to both foreign and domestic investors and will serve as a "one-stop shop'' to resolve investor complaints by coordinating different government ministries and agencies, including the office of the prime minister, Nguyen said at a meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce in Mongolia on March 7.

Foreign investment collapsed in recent years amid disputes between the government and foreign mining companies and banks that tarnished Mongolia's reputation as a safe place to invest.

A dispute with Rio Tinto Plc mothballed construction of the underground mine at Oyu Tolgoi for two years. Mongolia also lost court battles against South Africa's Standard Bank Group Ltd. and Canada's Khan Resources Inc.

'Hotel Mongolia'

Disputes with companies led to a few foreign executives being banned from leaving the country, a situation that became known as "Hotel Mongolia." While a few were held for weeks or months, other spent years stranded in the country, including three foreign executives from Canada's SouthGobi Sands LLC.

In September, Prime Minister Erdenebat Jargaltulga announced measures to cut red tape and improve ties with the business community through a Council for Protecting Investors' Rights. Within the council, a working group will be established to research and report cases of misconduct, bureaucracy or unlawful investigations against investors. Timing and other details of the complain line were not clear, and Nguyen said council hasn't yet been created.

Last month the government and International Monetary Fund reached an initial agreement for a $440 million loan package as part of a $5.5 billion bailout that includes World Bank funds.

At the height of Mongolia's mining boom five years ago, FDI topped $4.4 billion, mainly due to the construction of the first phase of the Oyu Tolgoi copper mine. Per month FDI has averaged $48.2 million over the past six months.

"When you have these problems, sometimes there is a lack of willingness at the upper levels of government to solve this and things escalate to arbitration or courts," Nguyen said. "And even if Mongolia wins in the court, it still loses its reputation."


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Local Market

MSE Trading Report, March 9: Top 20 +0.23%, ALL +0.16%, Turnover 76.2 Million Shares, 549.1 Million T-Bills

March 9 (MSE) --

Link to report

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

BoM MNT Rates: Thursday, March 9 Close










































































































































































Bank USD rates at time of sending: Khan (Buy ₮2,454 Sell ₮2,465), TDB (Buy ₮2,454 Sell ₮2,464), Golomt (Buy ₮2,454 Sell ₮2,465), XacBank (Buy ₮2,453 Sell ₮2,464), State Bank (Buy ₮2,454 Sell ₮2,464)

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

Link to rates

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BoM buys $14m at 2,465.88, declines $2m MNT swap offers

March 9 (Bank of Mongolia) Spot trade: Commercial banks bid weighted average rate of MNT2465.00 for USD 0.2 million, asked weighted average rate of MNT2565.77 for USD23.7 million and bid weighted average rate of MNT353.58 for CBY21.0 million respectively. The BoM bought USD14.0 million with closing rate of MNT2465.88.

Swap and forward trade: The BoM received buying bid offers of USD2.0 million of MNT swap agreements from commercial banks and the BoM did not accept the bid offers.

Link to release

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GoM sells 75 billion 28-week t-bills at 17.275% discount with ₮113 billion bids

March 9 (Bank of Mongolia) Auction for 28 weeks maturity Government Treasury bill was announced at face value of 75.0 billion MNT. Face value of 75.0 billion /out of 113.0 billion bid/ Government Treasury bill was sold at discounted price and with weighted average yield of 17.275%.

Link to release

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5 billion 2-year GoM bond auction fails to receive any bids

March 7 (Bank of Mongolia) Auction for 2 years maturity Government Treasury note was announced at face value of 5.0 billion MNT. Government Treasury bill was not sold due to absence of both competitive and non-competitive bids.

Link to release


Mongolia's population reaches 3.1 million

March 9 ( National Statistics Office reported that population of Mongolia reaches 3 million 119 thousand as of Mar, 2017. 

Population by gender:

  • 1 million 585 thousand are males,
  • 1 million 533 thousand are females. 

In addition to the above, Mongolia had a population of 2.9 million at the end of 2014 while it was increased to 3.57 million at the end of 2015. 

Interestingly, on January 24th, 2015, Mongolia welcomed its 3 millionth citizen.

Link to article

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METALS-London copper sinks to seven-week low on dollar, Escondida talks

MELBOURNE, March 9 (Reuters) London copper fell on Thursday after solid U.S. jobs data increased the likelihood of an interest rate hike this month and on signs that a disruption at the world's biggest copper mine may soon ease.

U.S. private sector job growth recorded its biggest increase in more than a year in February amid a surge in construction and factory hiring, suggesting the economy remains on solid ground despite an apparent further slowdown in the first quarter.

That pushed up the dollar close to its strongest level this year, eroding the purchasing power of those paying for commodities in other currencies.

"A Fed rate hike after the strong U.S. job report may strengthen the dollar, hitting copper, which is denominated in dollars," Argonaut Securities said in a report.

"(But) underlying fundamentals continue to reflect increasing demand and supply shortages. Therefore, we think any pullback in copper prices will be short-term and providing a buy-the-dip opportunity."

London Metal Exchange copper fell 1.1 percent to $5,701 a tonne by 0708 GMT, after ending a tad lower in the previous session. The metal earlier touched $5,688, its lowest since Jan. 19.

Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) copper futures fell 1.7 percent to 46,400 yuan ($6,710) a tonne.

Supporting copper prices, spot processing fees in Asia for copper concentrate have slid to their cheapest in four years as shutdowns at the world's top two mines in Chile and Indonesia grind on longer than anticipated.

However, an end to the disruption at the world's biggest copper mine may be on the horizon, after BHP Billiton, said it may try to restart production at Escondida in Chile using temporary workers once the strike surpasses 30 days.

LME nickel eased 0.8 percent, while ShFE nickel tumbled 5.5 percent on the possibility that the Philippines' hardline environmental minister may not be confirmed by Congress, opening the door to a new minister who may be more permissive of the mining sector.

But Regina Lopez said on Thursday that President Rodrigo Duterte would reappoint her if a decision is delayed, giving her more time to press her case on mine closures.

LME zinc succumbed to technical selling after it broke its 100-day moving average, sliding 2.2 percent to $2,651 and dragging LME lead down 1.8 percent.

On the demand side, a trade deficit in China for February has reinforced the growing view that economic activity in China picked up in the first two months of the year, adding to a global manufacturing revival.

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No large-scale cuts from Chinese coal mines in 2017: NDRC

Singapore, 7 Mar 2017 (Platts) China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said Tuesday that it will not seek to lower coal output in large scale, even as it continues to rationalize supply. This is provided that prices remain in a reasonable boundary.

"Although the task of cutting [coal] overcapacity task is tough but it is achievable and the fundamentals of supply and demand will improve further," NDRC said on its website.

Premier Li indicated that China plans to cut 150 million mt of coal capacity in 2017 earlier in the week.

The announcement comes in response to significant market anticipation as to whether NDRC would revert back to 276 work day policy in mid-March after they temporarily loosened the work day policy in November in attempts to curb increasing thermal and met coal prices.

Domestic coal prices jumped last year after the Chinese government reduced the number of working days for mines to 276 days from 330.

The price of FOB Qinhuangdao 5,500 NAR prices has surged 66% in the past one year to be assessed at Yuan 630/mt on Monday, according to S&P Global Platts data. The price had touched a high of Yuan 760/mt in November, when the Chinese government intervened to ease production and rein in the upward price trend.

NDRC said early January this year that the reasonable price range for the domestic coal should be within 6% basis on Yuan535/mt FOB for 5,500 kcal/kg NAR coal.

Imported metallurgical coal prices delivered into China also surged last year, reaching its highest point in November at $306.50/mt CFR China, more than tripled its sub-$100/mt value in April, according to S&P Global Platts data.

However it is important to note that NDRC did not make any distinction between thermal and coking coal mines in its recent statement.

NDRC also said that for those provinces which require more coal or which face supply pressure, the provincial governments could "make their own decisions" and the central government would not intervene in such instances.

As far as the coal prices are within in a reasonable range the government will not tweak its production policy, NDRC said.


NDRC's statement which seemingly alludes to maintaining the existing 330 work day policy for met coal might have limited impact on the physical market as Chinese supply of low ash, sulfur and high CSR coals are tight, a sell-side source said.

The source said that even from November to March where work day policy loosened to 330 days, China was still short of such good quality coals and imported significant volumes of it.

However from a confidence level point of view, such news might impact mills' desire to buy imports as it might encourage them to adopt a wait-and-see attitude, and wait for the impact to come in before making any procurement move, the source added.

The source said that NDRC's impact on thermal and coking coal has to be evaluated separately as thermal prices have been high in recent weeks.

A trader said that NDRC's move might have less impact on met coal as previously circulated rumors already suggested that coking coal would not see a return of the 276 work day policy.

Another trader suggested that this might have downward pressure on prices if implemented, but said that impact might not be as much as last year's policy did on met coal prices.

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Gold Suffers Worst Run Since October as Slide Below $1,200 Looms

  • Bullion declines as investors reassess outlook for U.S. rates
  • Investors awaiting non-farm payrolls data for guide on policy

March 9 (Bloomberg) Gold is sliding toward $1,200 an ounce in its longest losing run since October as positive U.S. economic figures reinforce expectations that yields on other investments will rise this year.

Bullion for immediate delivery fell 0.1 percent to $1,206.87 an ounce by 9:21 a.m. in New York after touching the lowest level since Feb. 1, according to Bloomberg generic pricing. It slid for a fourth day as yields on 10-year Treasuries extended gains.

The precious metal has been hit by Federal Reserve officials including Chair Janet Yellen talking up the prospect of higher rates this month. Better-than-expected U.S. private jobs data this week also boosted the dollar before official payrolls figures on Friday. A stronger dollar makes gold costlier for those with other currencies.

"If the data continues to be as good as it was, or improves, we could see the Fed move toward further hawkishness," said Brad Yates, head of trading for Elemetal, one of the biggest U.S. gold refiners. "That could hurt gold."

After the Fed raised rates once in 2015 and again in 2016, the pace may quicken this year.

The so-called dot plot illustrating policy makers' projections suggests three increases this year. While economists see U.S. non-farm payrolls declining, possibly supporting gold, their projections have underestimated employment growth in February for five years in a row.

In other precious metals:

  • Silver futures for May delivery fell 0.3 percent to $17.255 per ounce. 
  • Platinum futures for April delivery dropped 0.3 percent to $946.80 per ounce.
  • Palladium futures for June delivery declined 2.3 percent to $753.05 per ounce.
  • The World Platinum Investment Council raised its 2017 platinum supply deficitto 120,000 ounces from 100,000 ounces on a resilient car market. The metal is used in auto-catalysts that help remove pollutants from vehicle exhaust.

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Iron ore slides amid rising inventories at Chinese ports

March 9 (The Australian) Iron ore is back testing the $US85 a tonne mark after heavy selling across the past three sessions.

According to The Steel Index, the price of Australia's key export slumped 2.6 per cent to $US85.30 overnight, pushing it down from $US87.60 the session prior.

It represents the commodity's lowest level in a month and takes it 10 per cent from the multi-year peak of $US94.50 reached on February 21, with 6.9 per cent shed in the last three sessions alone.

It comes as rising port inventories in China have reverted to being viewed as a hindrance to prices, rather than the surprising tailwind they were considered earlier in the year.

The notion rising inventories served as a boost to prices came from the perception it showed strong demand, but with stocks at Chinese ports surging to their highest level on record last week, traders have turned wary.

Chinese iron ore port inventories jumped to 130.05 million tonnes last Friday, the highest mark since tracking began in 2004.

HSBC analysts late last week warned prices "could be set for a massive fall" in 2017, tipping a swift return to the $US50 mark that threatens to push small and mid-tier out of the market.

"While some of the more speculative noise will likely abate, the key fundamentals remain weak and we believe that relatively strong supply growth will ultimately drive prices lower as demand growth fails to absorb additional volumes," the bank said.

It coincided with a bearish note from broker Evans & Partners, with analyst Andrew Hines anticipating a return to $US45 a tonne later this year.

"In our view, iron ore is on the verge of a multi-year bear market, and the current price spike is only going to make things worse," Mr Hines said.

"Iron ore is a bulk commodity, it is relatively abundant, and it is not difficult to mine or process. Iron ore producers should not expect to make supernormal returns in perpetuity."

The bears haven't taken over just yet, however, with UBS and Credit Suisse recently sharply upgrading their price forecasts to levels in the $US70s. Such a price would represent a significant further fall, but is notably above where most analysts were tipping the commodity would be at this time last year.

Meanwhile, the big miners in Australia may need to push hard in coming months to meet their production forecasts after a wetter-than-usual summer in the Pilbara.

"Several recent rainfall events have put pressure on export volumes," Macquarie said this week.

"The weekly data show that the average shipping rate over the last week of January and first two weeks of February fell to 725mtpa, a reduction of 125mtpa from the December quarter run-rate.

"While rainfall has been significant we suspect that the lack of cyclones has subdued market focus on what has been a much wetter wet season than seen in the previous two years."

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U.S. crude oil slumps below $50 after stocks build

March 9 (Reuters) Oil prices fell on Thursday, extending the biggest falls this year as record U.S. crude inventories kept sentiment weak, pointing to a global glut despite OPEC-led supply cuts.

Crude oil stocks in the United States, the world's top oil consumer, surged last week to 528.4 million barrels, an all-time high and up 8.2 million barrels in a week, well above forecasts of a 2 million barrel build. [EIA/S]

The surge in U.S. inventories came despite an agreement by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other exporters to cut output by almost 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in the first half of 2017.

"U.S. oil stockpiles have gained around 50 million barrels since the start of the year, raising some doubts over the effectiveness of OPEC cuts," said Hamza Khan, head of commodities strategy at ING Bank in Amsterdam.

Brent crude oil was down 50 cents a barrel at $52.61 by 1435 GMT, after reaching an intraday low of $51.60, its lowest since Dec. 1. On Wednesday, Brent fell $2.81 a barrel, or 5 percent, in its biggest daily price move this year.

U.S. light crude reached an intraday low of $48.79, down $1.49, before recovering to trade around $49.70 a barrel. U.S. crude plummeted 5.4 percent on Wednesday.

"The market went into a meltdown yesterday," said Tamas Varga, analyst at London brokerage PVM Oil Associates. "The risk is now tilted to the downside. Lower numbers are not a foregone conclusion yet, but bears are in control."

Major oil exporters say they will gradually tighten global supplies as they reduce production.

Kuwait's oil minister has said OPEC's compliance with cuts has exceeded targets.

Kuwait will host a meeting on March 26 of OPEC and non-OPEC ministers to review compliance with the production cuts.

OPEC hopes it can persuade other oil producers to make deeper cuts to try to push up prices that have been below some breakeven costs for more than two years.

But they will need to act fast, because low oil prices encourage producers to increase output to balance their budgets.

"If things stay unchanged, then this week will be the worst week for oil prices since the OPEC deal (in November)," said Olivier Jakob, managing director of Swiss consultancy Petromatrix.

"If a quick rebound cannot be organized by the end of the week, then banks will start to revise lower their oil price forecasts," he said.

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Politics & Legal

Half-naked women demonstrate against corruption on Women's Day

March 9 ( On the occasion of International Women's Day, two forums were organized at State House whilst two other demonstrations were held on Sukhbaatar Square and the Peace Bridge in Ulaanbaatar.

Half-naked women demonstrated on Sukhbaatar square, holding up banners with the slogans 'Remove Offshore-Account Holders' and 'Bring Back the Stolen Money'. These women appeared suddenly on square just as the participants of a forum of 1000 mothers who had been awarded  Honoured  Mother Medal came out of the State House.

Also, some students demonstrated for women's rights on the Peace Bridge. Their action was entitled 'Strong women are a bridge of peace'.

Link to article


Women march in Ulaanbaatar for their rightsMontsame, March 9

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President greets glorious mothers

Ulaanbaatar, March 9 (MONTSAME) Under the auspices of President of Mongolia, Association of Motherhood Order Recipients organized a forum of merited mothers in the State House on March 8, International Women's Day which was a public holiday.

Addressing the forum, President Ts.Elbegdorj gave a speech in which he congratulated every mother, emphasizing on the role and contribution of women in the prosperity of a family and further the country.

"I am pleased that this tradition of gathering recipients of Order of Glorious Motherhood on International Women's Day for joined celebration is regularizing. As March 8 approaches, mothers wait for this forum, and I hope this tradition continues", he said.

"Role of women is critical in a happy family, and therefore, prosperity of the country depends on women. Mongolian Government must sustain a policy that ensures equal engagement of women in every area", the President remarked. He appreciated how the representation of women in Mongolian Parliament has been enlarging since 2012.

Reiterating the importance of women involvement, the President encouraged the mothers to stand up for themselves when their voices are needed. He also highlighted the vital role of mothers in shaping of the society and future of the country by bringing up their children to be responsible, hard-working and disciplined adults.

Interestingly, the President revealed that he was actually born on March 8 although his birth certificate points March 30. "I am the youngest of 8 children my mother gave birth to. She used to tell me that I was born on March 8. We lived in the country, and my father was able to register my birth on March 30. That's why my official birthday is March 30", he said.

In accordance with Mongolian law, mothers of 4 children are awarded the 2nd class Order of Glorious Motherhood and those of 6 and more are awarded the 1st class.

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TI finds police and health services the most corrupt in Mongolia

March 9 ( Transparency International, the global coalition against corruption released the latest Asia Pacific edition of the Global Corruption Barometer, covered 22,000 people across 16 countries and territories on Mar 7, 2017. 

In Mongolia, police and health services have the highest levels of corruption, out of 6 public services that were asked about. Across the region, 30 percent of respondent who had come into contact with a police officer in the last 12 months had paid a bribe. 

"1500 people were attended the survey from Mongolia, of which 33 percent of them were representatives of 21 aimags and 67 percent of them were residents of Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia", said E.Munkhjargal, CEO of Transparency International Mongolia. 

Over 61 percent of people in Mongolia rated their government badly at addressing corruption.

When looking at the overall regional results, 38 per cent of the poorest people have paid a bribe, which was the highest of any income group. This may be because they have fewer alternative options available to them, or because they have less power or influence to avoid paying bribes

The best ways people thought they could tackle corruption in their own countries are reporting corruption (22 per cent) and refusing to pay bribes (21 per cent) were most effective. 

Based on the findings in this report, Transparency International makes the following recommendations to the Governments:

Make good on promises 

  • Heads of states must speak out and act immediately and publicly, to assert their specific and time-bound commitment under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to substantially reduce bribery and corruption by 2030.
  • Governments must deliver on their anti-corruption commitments made globally and regionally by implementing legislation and practice at the national level. For example, the social accountability (article 13) and anti-corruption agencies (articles 6 and 36) aspects of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).

Stopping bribery in public services

  • Governments should address systemic problems that allow corruption in public sector delivery: Prevent corruption by promoting transparency through effective implementation of access to information legislation and open government practices, enhancing a healthy and free environment for civil society to operate, and enacting codes of conduct for public servants.
  • Punish the corrupt by immediately adopting a zero-tolerance policy for corruption in public services, pursuing prosecutions and applying appropriate sanctions.
  • The police must lead by example and urgently address corruption within their ranks and act to gain public confidence because of their key role in fighting corruption.
  • Governments must integrate anti-corruption targets into all SDGs including hunger, poverty, education, health, gender equality and climate action, and develop mechanisms to reduce corruption risks in these areas.

Encouraging more people to report corruption 

  • Legislatures must adopt and enforce comprehensive legislation to protect whistleblowers based on prevailing international standards, including those developed by Transparency International. Meanwhile, governments and the private sector must support whistleblowers and reporters of corruption and ensure appropriate follow-up to their disclosures.
  • Anti-corruption agencies should engage with the large numbers of citizens willing to refuse paying bribes and those willing to report bribes. At the same time, anti-corruption agencies should implement outreach programmes to encourage people to report corruption and ensure user-friendly reporting mechanisms to empower citizens to effectively take action against corruption.

Link to article

Link to Global Corruption Barometer report

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Private Sector Leaders Call For a Long-term and Stable Law and Policy at AmCham Monthly Meeting

ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia, March 7 (AmCham Mongolia) – The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Mongolia hosted its March Monthly Meeting with some of the most prominent business leaders in Mongolia on March 7, 2017, at the Shangri-La Hotel to discuss "Perspectives of Business Leaders on the Economic Situation of Mongolia and Forecasts for 2017". The panelists included President of MSC Group Mr. J. Od, Chairperson of Petrovis LLC Ms. J. Oyungerel, Executive Director of Wagner Asia Group Mr. Steve Potter, and Resident Representative for Mongolia at the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Mr. Tuyen Nguyen.

The meeting brought together over 100 participants, including AmCham members and representatives from Mongolia's leading businesses. Attendees heard from the panelists on Mongolia's outlook in a broad range of business categories, including mining, agriculture, new projects, and finance. The panelists also spoke about the need for economic diversification and stability in policy and law as well as the IMF's extended fund facility program and its implications for the private sector.

Mr. J.Od, President of MCS Group, opened the discussion and said, "2017 presents a real opportunity for Mongolia to develop a real economy and to create jobs based on economic diversification, good policy decisions, regional integration and an open investment environment."

Ms. J.Oyungerel, Chairperson of Petrovis Group, noted, "Mongolia needs to promote and increase its export products, such as agriculture industry products, to further develop our economy while having a stable policy and legal environment designed to support the private sector as the key engine of economic growth. Also, Mongolia needs investors who can supply the best expertise and advanced technology for local businesses to grow."

Mr. Steve Potter, Executive Director of Wagner Asia Group, gave a comparative analysis of Mongolia with other jurisdictions and said, "The chances of success will greatly increase if we develop long-term and sustainable policies that encourage both domestic and international investment and private sector growth."

Mr. Tuyen Nguyen, Resident Representative for Mongolia at the IFC, commented in detail on the IMF's extended fund facility program and its impacts on the private sector and said, "Fiscal discipline of the government with the IMF deal will certainly help in unleashing the potential growth of the private sector and in rebuilding investor confidence."

"AmCham Mongolia has been and will keep working with both the public and private sectors to promote strong private sector growth, an enabling business environment, increased investment, and a stable policy and legal environment in Mongolia." Mr. Jay Liotta, Chairman of AmCham Mongolia, said during his closing remarks.

Link t o release

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PS: Constitutional Reform & Double Deel

By Julian Dierkes

March 9 (Mongolia Focus) Constitutional revision remains under consideration in Mongolia. If the MPP wins the presidential election in June 2017, there may be less pressure toward a revision of the relative power of president and parliament (most recent discussions in Mongolia would assign more power to parliament, but somehow I don't think that M Enkhbold would be so excited about that should he win the presidential election).

One of the issues that keeps coming up over and over is the "double deel" (давхар дээл), i.e. concern about members of parliament also serving as members of cabinet.

Previously, I have used examples from Canadian and German state/provincial parliaments to argue that other parliaments of comparable size have not been concerned about this challenge.

As it turns out and as I have learned in the context of debates of constitutional reform in Berlin, I was at least partly wrong about that.

The Green Party of Germany, for example, has long argued for a separation between a seat in parliament and an office (Trennung von Amt und Mandat), though this has been focused primarily on party offices.

In Spring 2017, the Berlin parliament (Abgeordnetenhaus) is debating a proposed constitutional amendment to prevent the double deel. I hesitate to offer this link, in part because it leads to the proposal by the Alternative für Deutschland, a rightist-populist party. However, as the example of rules against the party double deel in the Green Party show, this is a debate that other parties are open to.

The case in the Berlin discussions includes the following elements:

  • separation of power: the German constitution does not adopt this as a principle, instead preferring interlocking powers (Gewaltenverschränkung)
  • weakening of parliament: this is in part a numbers argument (i.e. every member that joins the cabinet no longer operates as a member of parliament, but also an argument about the role of parliament as endorsing and controlling the government
  • salary: the Berlin parliament is defined as a half-time job (surely not realistically so), members of cabinet (Senatoren in the case of Berlin) thus draw salaries as such AND as members of parliament
  • examples: the two other German city states, Hamburg and Bremen, both have separated membership from parliament from membership in cabinet

While the Greens have practiced this separation for some time, it has also been advocated for by parts of the Social Democrats.

Given similarities in the issues and challenges identified, perhaps there are opportunities for an exchange between Berlin and Mongolia around this topic.

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AmCham Daily Newswire for March 9, 2017


Program to combat illegal drugs approved

Summary: The Cabinet held their regular session and approved the national program to combat illegal drugs and psychotropic substances. By implementing the program, measures will be taken to monitor the use of illegal drugs, stop the circulation of the drugs, and investigate and stop drug-related crimes, as well as establish systems to send addicted users to rehabilitation programs. Over the last 10 years, 1,112 people were investigated in matters related to illegal drugs. The government believes that the rising circulation and import of drugs has resulted in the need to establish programs to combat the use of the illegal drugs. The capital required for the program will be included in the state budget and will come from loans and grants from countries and international organizations.

Keywords: legislation, illegal drugs | Daily News /page 11/

MP N. Enkhbold receives Ambassador Stanislaw Chepurnoy

Summary: The Head of the State Development Standing Committee and MP N. Enkhbold received the Belarusian Ambassador to Mongolia Stanislaw Chepurnoy to discuss economic and trade cooperation between the two countries. The Ambassador noted that it is important to further develop the two countries' economic and trade relationship, and to increase the number of visits between the high-level legislators of the countries. N. Enkhbold agreed with the proposals shared by the Ambassador and noted that in 1-2 years, the Mongolian economy will be able to overcome its current economic challenges.

Keywords: bilateral relations, cooperation, Belarus | Today /page A2/


Private sector leaders call for long-term and stable law and policy at AmCham's Monthly Meeting

Summary: The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Mongolia hosted its March Monthly Meeting with some of the most prominent business leaders in Mongolia on March 7, 2017, at the Shangri-La Hotel to discuss "Perspectives of Business Leaders on the Economic Situation of Mongolia and Forecasts for 2017". The panelists included President of MSC Group Mr. J. Od, Chairperson of Petrovis LLC Ms. J. Oyungerel, Executive Director of Wagner Asia Group Mr. Steve Potter, and Resident Representative for Mongolia at the International Finance Cooperation (IFC) Mr. Tuyen Nguyen.

The meeting brought together over 100 participants, including AmCham members and representatives from Mongolia's leading businesses. Attendees heard from the panelists on Mongolia's outlook in a broad range of business categories, including mining, agriculture, new projects, and finance. The panelists also spoke about the need for economic diversification and stability in policy and law, as well as the IMF's extended fund facility program and its implications for the private sector.

"AmCham Mongolia has been and will keep working with both the public and private sectors to promote strong private sector growth, an enabling business environment, increased investment, and a stable policy and legal environment in Mongolia." Mr. Jay Liotta, Chairman of AmCham Mongolia, said during his closing remarks.

Keywords: AmCham, private sector, policy | The Official Gazette /page 5/

Central bank buys USD in its currency auction 

Summary: The Bank of Mongolia held its regular foreign currency auction, and commercial banks asked to buy 500,000 USD at an average exchange of 2461.91 MNT, and 13.5 million CNY at an average exchange of 354.2 MNT. Commercial banks offered to sell 41.3 million USD at 2,467.3 MNT. The central bank agreed to buy 31.5 million USD at 2,467.5 MNT. The Bank of Mongolia's move to buy USD signals an increased supply in the currency market, and with increased foreign currency exchange, the MNT could strengthen. The USD exchange rate stands at 2,466.8 MNT.

Keywords: Bank of Mongolia, currency | Today /page A1/


Denison Mines sale to Uranium Industry delayed

Summary: Toronto Stock Exchange listed Denison Mines released their report for 2016 and plans for 2017. Last year, Denison Mines decided to sell their branch in Mongolia to Uranium Industry. The sale has been in place since November 2016, but it has been postponed to July 2017. Due to uncertainty about the sale, the valuation of the company lowered in the Q4'16 to 10 million USD.

At the PDAC convention, Minister of Mining and Heavy Industry Ts. Dashdorj noted that the Government of Mongolia has no interest in changing its equity in Oyu Tolgoi, but is looking to increase the amount of land available for exploration.

Oyu Tolgoi investor Turquoise Hill Resources saw its stock decrease by 1.62%. Over a half-year period, the company's stock rose by 7.87%. On the Australian Stock Exchange, Rio Tinto's stock decreased by 1.74%. In the past six months, the stock has risen by 25.6%.

Keywords: mining |

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"Goo" Mongolian organic cosmetic products in demand

March 9 (MONTSAME) A young Mongolian girl in her early twenties created natural cosmetics brand for modern urbanized society. "Goo" (Beauty) brand of "Burkhanlig goo saikhan" (Godly beauty) company is already well known in Japan and the US.

The company produces 35 types of handmade organic cosmetic products for Mongolians. The first Mongolian cosmetic franchise is not only blooming in Mongolia, but also has opened up branches in Japan and China as well. The internationally acclaimed Mongolian medical cosmetic brand distinguishes itself from other modern day brands as it uses organic materials such as fat from a sheep tail, seabuckthorn, rock salt, thistles and thyme as a base. 

Also, the company does not mix chemicals to increase the product's age. For dry and sensitive skin, the company produces 20 kinds of new products for export, such as resin drops, resin body lotions, lip nutrition, face scrub with seabuckthorn and coffee, masks with seabuckthorn, ointments with lemon, collagen and honey, bath bomb for foot and bath salts with milk and rose.

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Gold industry forum taking place next week

March 10 (Mongolian Economy) The "Mongolia Gold 2017" investment forum will take place on March 17, with the aim of discussing a number of issues surrounding investment in the gold mining industry. Projects in the gold industry will also be introduced to investors in order to seek financing, create partnerships in gold mining and extraction projects and elevate the current level of business cooperation, bringing advanced technology, sharing experiences and promoting research.

It is expected that gold exports will be fluctuate between 15.8-40.0 tonnes, and export revenues of the gold sector is forecasted to reach USD 1.2 billion in 2020 and USD 1.6 billion in 2025. Revenues are expected to increase by 26.7 percent by 2020 and 68.4 percent by 2025 compared with 2015. The organisers of the forum noted that a great amount investment is needed to exploit gold mines on schedule. Thus, Mongolia needs to utilise financing sources, such as loans, bonds and other instruments to attract domestic and foreign investments to those large-scale gold projects.

Growing investment in extraction and exploration in the gold industry as well as sustainable growth of gold reserves is a result of a stable legal environment. Production and sales are expected to raise the output of gold by 20.0-47.7 tonnes to eventually reach 353.2 tonnes a year. 

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Women in Business 2017 gala night event on Friday

Ulaanbaatar, March 9 (MONTSAME) Mongolian PR agency Profile is uniting Mongolian businesswomen at Women in Business 2017 gala night event on Friday, March 10.

Aiming to highlight the leadership and presence of women in Mongolia's business environment, the event is going to be held for the first time this year.

About 200 businesswomen who are running business, and have already made their name in business sector are expected to participate in the event to share their experiences. Moreover, the organizers are going to present the findings of an interesting study on what Mongolian businesswomen want and from whom they take inspiration from.

XacBank is working as main sponsor for the first major event engaging Mongolian women in business whereas several other businesses are cooperating on the organization of the gala night with the Profile agency.

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Green Credit Fund: Financial Weapon Against Air Pollution

March 9 (Mongolian Economy) A Green Loan Fund that is to play a major role in combatting air pollution is ready to start operations, informed the Mongolian Bankers' Association (MBA). Created to be an investment fund that will also have a significant impact on the development of financial markets, the project is a combined effort by the MBA, private sector and other professionals.

The next step is to present proposals and projects to policymakers such as the government, Ministry of Environment, Green Development and Tourism and the Ulaanbaatar city administration for approval. The first on the list is a proposal to develop a new public-private joint green financial system, which the MBA hopes receives immediate support.

A plan was developed within the framework of the Green Loan Fund to attract low-interest financing, eliminate several thousand smoke-emitting chimneys and exhausts and finance electric heaters through loans before the next smoke season, winter. Though the air pollution issue cannot be resolved in a single step, it is certainly possible to take measures such as introducing electric heaters, reducing the number of smoke emitters. Other solutions include power saving, renewable energy and bringing low-cost external financial sources.

Stable and continuous funding is necessary for the fight against air pollution. Large amounts of uncontrolled money will continue to flow out if there is no good system. Experts highlighted that the project's governance is exemplary as its policy was developed under public and financial monitoring is managed by experts.

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New TV station opens in Dundgobi aimag

Ulaanbaatar, March 9 (MONTSAME) A new local television station named 'Ard' has launched in Dundgobi aimag. "- Even though people have access to nationwide and international news, they have no media channel to receive local news of the province. Therefore, filling this gap, we established this TV station" said founder of the TV station G.Munkhbaatar.  

A year and half ago, a new TV station "Dundgobi" established with investment of MNT120 million from the Local development fund. However, the TV station allegedly breached law on Press freedom as running its operation by the Governor's Office of the province and having investment from the Local development fund. Newly formed Citizens' representative meeting's presidium released a resolution to dissolve "Dundgobi" TV. "Altanshagait" company has acquired TV equipment of the closed down TV in management agreement and it established "Ard" TV station.

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ACMS Speaker Series: Bruno Grunau, Cold Climate Housing Research Center

Cold Climate Housing Research Center: Solutions for the Circumpolar North

Date: March 14

Time: 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Venue: American Corner, Ulaanbaatar Public Library

The Cold Climate Housing Research Center is an industry-based nonprofit corporation created to facilitate the development, use, and testing of energy-efficient, durable, healthy, and cost-effective building technologies for people living in cold climates. The purpose of this presentation is to share our story with the people of Mongolia and find ways we can share our successes.

CCHRC's three primary programs are the Building Science Research  Program, Policy Research, and Sustainable Northern Communities.

The Building Science Research team is made up of engineers and scientists who conduct experiments and provide analysis on building and energy systems in cold climates. Examples of research activities include monitoring the performance of different wall designs and insulation products in various climate zones; gathering data on indoor air quality to test innovative ventilation strategies; and studying the efficiency and payback of renewable energy technologies such as heat pumps and solar thermal. This research is translated into technical reports, journal articles, building manuals, videos, and educational material for contractors and homeowners.

The Policy Research team is made up of economists and analysts who study the energy efficiency of housing and infrastructure in Alaska. Activities include managing and analyzing data, energy modeling, calculating economic analyses of building, retrofit, and energy projects, and making policy recommendations to agencies and officials.

The Sustainable Northern Communities program started in 2008 to address the needs for sustainable housing in rural Alaska. CCHRC designers work with state and federal agencies, housing authorities, and other design and building firms to develop energy efficient, affordable, durable housing. Local residents and stakeholders are included to ensure the designs reflect the culture, environment, and resources of individual communities.

These prototype homes incorporate experimental building and energy technologies—such as super-insulated walls, integrated heating and ventilation systems, innovative water and sanitation solutions, or adjustable foundations—aimed at improving the energy efficiency and affordability of housing. The goal is that these prototypes can be reproduced to provide much-needed housing. CCHRC has completed more than 12 prototype projects throughout all regions of Alaska. CCHRC also provides energy modeling and plan review.

Co-Sponsored by the American Cultural and Information Center, Ulaanbaatar

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Tengri at Vancouver Fashion Week Fall-Winter 2017

March 20th – 26th, 2017

Tengri will debut in Canada, showing for the first time at Vancouver Fashion Week FALL-WINTER 2017 from March 20th to 26th. We will unveil the first collection in the epic Rider story, launching with Rider 1 Journey.

Inspired by the perception of journeys and underpinned by Tengri's own incredible story – from its roots on the steppes of Mongolia's remote Khangai region, to the UK – Rider 1 Journey represents the spirit of travel to distant lands, exploring the unknown, notions of apprehension, resilience, energy and the wonders of travel to remote landscapes.

The Autumn/Winter collection is influenced by stories of legends, epic travels, local customs and heritage, bridging two worlds from east to west with subtle references to these incorporated into the design and making of each piece. 

The bespoke pieces of the collection will showcase the capabilities of the Khangai yak's rare fibres, using new fabrics developed by some of the UK's leading technical textile designers, pushing technical innovation and methods in yarns.

We have chosen Vancouver as it's the fastest-growing fashion week in the world. Moreover, it's also the only industry event that actively seeks out and showcases international award-winning designers from over 25 global fashion capitals.

Discover the Tengri Fall/Winter 2017 collection at Vancouver Fashion Week, at the Chinese Cultural Centre, Vancouver.

Tengri runway dates and times: Friday March 24th, at 5:00pm

Tengri showroom days: Friday March 24th and Saturday March 25th

To buy tickets to the Fashion shows click here

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EU Call for Proposals: EIDHR Country-Based Support Schemes 2017 for Mongolia

Deadline: 25 April 2017

The European Union (EU) is currently accepting proposals from eligible organisations for "European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights – Country-Based Support Schemes 2017, Mongolia" with an aim to support civil society in its actions to support the protection and the promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms as proclaimed in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as strengthening transparency and accountability.


  • Mongolian CSOs become key actors in the promotion of transparency and accountability.
  • Mongolian CSOs contribute to a reinforced protection of Human Rights of vulnerable groups.

Size of Grants

Any grant requested under this call for proposals must fall between EUR 200.000 and EUR 300.000.


Actions must take place in Mongolia.

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Monthly Rental Rates for Ulaanbaatar Apartments by District

March 10 (GoGo Mongolia) We at GoGo Mongolia delivers you the apartment rental rates as of March, 2017 that located in main 6 districts of Ulaanbaatar city. 


This district marks the center of the city. Most government, educational and cultural organizations are located here, such as; The Mongolian Government house, The Parliament house, 13 Embassies, Government Ministries, the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the National University of Monglia, and the University of Science and Technology. 

Room type

Min monthly rate

Max monthly rate


MNT 350 thousand

MNT 700 thousand


MNT 500 thousand

MNT 1 million 

3-bedroom or more

MNT 800 thousand

MNT 4.5 million


Chingeltei is located in the north, at the foot of one of the four mountains of Ulaanbaatar, the Chingeltei mountain. Some areas of the district covers the center of the city, such as State Department Store, Tengis Cinema and 5th secondary school. 

Room type

Min monthly rate

Max monthly rate


MNT 300 thousand

MNT 700 thousand


MNT 550 thousand

MNT 1.6 million 

3-bedroom or more

MNT 700 thousand

MNT 3.8 million


This district is located in the west of the city, covering the 3rd and 4th micro district, areas near railway station, 10th micro district, Grand Plaza, Maxmall and Narnii bridge. 

Room type

Min monthly rate

Max monthly rate


MNT 350 thousand

MNT 700 thousand


MNT 450 thousand

MNT 1.5 million 

3-bedroom or more

MNT 520 thousand

MNT 2 million


It is the largest district in the capital and lies in the southeast of the city. Bayanzurkh is located in the east, at the foot of one of the four mountains of Ulaanbaatar, the Bayanzurkh mountain. The district covers areas near Emart, National Amusement Park, Wrestling Palace, 13th micro district, and Officer`s Palace. 

Room type

Min monthly rate

Max monthly rate


MNT 250 thousand

MNT 850 thousand


MNT 450 thousand

MNT 1.5 million 

3-bedroom or more

MNT 520 thousand

MNT 2 million


Songino Khairkhan is located in the west, at the foot of one of the four mountains of Ulaanbaatar, the Songino Khairkhan mountain. The district covers 3rd hospital, 5 shar, 21st micro district, Sapporo and 1st micro district. 

Room type

Min monthly rate

Max monthly rate


MNT 250 thousand

MNT 450 thousand


MNT 350 thousand

MNT 550 thousand 

3-bedroom or more

MNT 450 thousand

MNT 750 thousand


Khan Uul is located in the south, at the foot of one of the four mountains of Ulaanbaatar, the Bogd Khan mountain. The district covers the most expensive residential areas and considered as the less polluted areas of the city. Also, areas near the Chinggis Khan airport and Yarmag, Hunnu mall are located in Khan Uul district. 

Room type

Min monthly rate

Max monthly rate


MNT 400 thousand

MNT 800 thousand


MNT 450 thousand

MNT 1.5 million

3-bedroom or more

MNT 1 million 

MNT 7 million 

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UB city to implement "One Job for One Family" program in 2017-2020

Ulaanbaatar, March 9 (MONTSAME) The capital city' authorities set to implement "One job for one family" program in 2017-2020 with a view to reduce unemployment in Ulaanbaatar. A working group has been established by an ordinance of the Governor of the capital and an employment boost center will be established to conduct survey involving every family.  

" – "One job for one family" program aims to create favorable condition to increase employment, to improve quality, access and efficiency of public service regarding employment and to reduce unemployment through extension of activities of organizations in charge of employment. The program will succeed with collaboration of administrative organizations of city, districts, khoroo, citizens and companies. Employment can be increased through proper employment policy, favorable condition for citizens to get employment service and supplying necessary personell to big construction and other projects" said D.Enkhtur, manager in charge of poverty reduction and employment projects of the capital.

Employer companies, the unemployed, people in risk for unemployed, the disabled, youth, single mothers, family business runners, micro businessmen and unofficial self-employed people will be engaged in the program.

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Capital administration honors 9 women

Ulaanbaatar, March 9 (MONTSAME) On the occasion of International Women's Day, the capital city administration honored nine women who have contributed to the growth of Ulaanbaatar city.

The chosen 9 women were E.Tserendulam, who have worked in the capital administration for many years, D.Bayanjargal, who have worked in urban refurbishment for 33 years, Z.Bolormaa, leading worker in education, elder Ts.Tserenlkham, Colonel D.Tsetsegmaa, who have worked in police for 30 years, honored blood donor T.Alimaa, State Foremost Artist Ch.Delgertsetseg, State Honored Athlete D.Sumiya and senior physician D.Gantsetseg.

During the ceremony, Ulaanbaatar Deputy Mayor Sh.Ankhmaa said, "The Citizens' Representative Khural of Ulaanbaatar and Mayor's Office have initiated the first ceremony to honor 9 women who have done great contributions to the development and growth of the capital city. The ceremony will be held annually from now on".

Female members of the capital city Citizens' Representative Khural were present at the ceremony as well.

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Movie Afternoon: Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Cosy Club Ulaanbaatar will host a movie afternoon on March 11. New Zealand adventure comedy-drama film "Hunt for the Wilderpeople" will be screened at the event.

In the film, a national manhunt is ordered for a rebellious kid and his foster uncle who go missing in the wild New Zealand bush.


Where: Cosy Club Ulaanbaatar, NCP Building

When: March 11, 3:00 p.m.

Admission: Free

More Information: 11-331109

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Dreamers' Day at iCinema: The World of Kanako

March 9 (UB Post) Dreamers' Day is ready to screen its 241st matinee on March 11 at iCinema. Japanese suspense film "The World of Kanako" will be displayed this time around.

The film tells the story of a former detective Akihiro Fujishima, who tries to search for his daughter Kanako after she goes missing for a few days and learns about his daughter's secret life.


Where: iCinema, State Department Store

When: March 11, 4:00 p.m.

Admission: 5,000 MNT

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'Sky Resort Open 2017' and DJ festival

March 9 (UB Post) The biggest snow sport tournament Sky Resort Open 2017 and indoor DJ music festival will be held on March 11 at Sky Resort.

Snowboard and skiing competition will be held among amateur athletes. The prize pool of the tournament is five million MNT.

After the tournament, a DJ music festival will entertain the crowd. Live music bands, DJ sets, fireworks and go-go dancers will be featured at the event.


Where: Sky Resort

When: March 11, 10:00 a.m.

Admission: Free

More Information: 77000909, 91007847

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Concert by Braids in Ulaanbaatar

March 9 (UB Post) Canadian experimental pop band Braids came to Mongolia to perform at UB Palace on March 11.

Braids won the Alternative Album of the Year prize for their "Deep in the Iris" from Juno Canada's Music Awards. After winning the prize, Braids decided to start a tour of Asia.

Mongolian live music bands The Lemons, Futuroma, Even Tide, The Compass and songwriter Magnolian will be featured in Braids' concert.


Where: UB Palace

When: March 11, 7:00 p.m.

Ticket Price: 25,000 MNT

More Information: 99063282

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Speaker of Mongolian Parliament to visit Japan this month

March 9 ( M.Enkbold, Speaker of Parliament of Mongolia is planning to visit Japan later this month. The exact date has not yet been announced. During the trip, M.Enkbold is expected to discuss the medium-term strategic partnership between Japan and Mongolia and financial aid offered by Tokyo.

This will be M.Enkhbold's second visit to Japan. Previously, he visited Japan when he was Prime Minister of Mongolia and started discussions with Tokyo regarding the construction of the new international airport at Khushigt Valley near Ulaanbaatar.

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Far East Affairs: Mongolia and Japan

On February 24, 2017, Mongolia and Japan celebrated 45 years of diplomatic relations.

By Bolor Lkhaajav

March 10 (The Diplomat) Mongolia-Japan's relations are rich in both history and myth. The two countries' relations can be dated back to the 13th century. The Mongolian empire, under the rule of Kublai Khan, sought to invade Japan in 1274 and 1281, only to be deterred by storms (known as the "divine wind" in Japan) coupled with malfunctioning boats made by the Song Dynasty war-prisoners. According to the history books, Kublai Khan's message to the Japanese shogun was something along the lines of: "You are the ruler of a small country; pay us a tribute… or else."

Of course, the modern day relationship does not involve attempted invasions, divine typhoons, or malfunctioning boats, but rather political and diplomatic dialogue, economic relations, and people-to-people affairs. On February 24, 2017, Mongolia and Japan celebrated the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. As Mongolia's foreign policy apparatus expands both regionally and globally, Japan serves as a source of democratic principles and values as well as a political, economic, and social model for Mongolia's own development.

On February 24, 1972, the People's Republic of Mongolia and Japan established diplomatic relations. The 1970s were a crucial period in Mongolia's foreign policy. The Mongolian government under Y. Tsedenbal had far-sighted foreign policy ambitions beyond the Soviet Union; thus, the recognition of Mongolia's sovereignty by other states was fundamental. By establishing diplomatic relations, Mongolia was able to engage with rest of the world politically, economically, diplomatically, and socially. With a tremendous effort from Y. Tsedenbal, many of Mongolia's diplomatic relations were established under his government, including Japan.

Economic ties were limited at the start. Foreign aid and developmental projects were controlled and restricted in socialist Mongolia until the 1990 democratic revolution. Nevertheless, in 1977, even with limited market access, Japan invested in the Gobi Cashmere Factory's technology, production, and distribution, thus jump-starting the Mongolian cashmere sector.

Since 1991, Japan has been financing Mongolia's transportation, energy, and mining sectors with investments such as the Railway Transportation Rehabilitation Project I and II, the Rehabiliatation Project of the 4th Thermal Power Plant in Ulaanbaatar, and the Baganuur and Shivee-ovoo Coal Mine Development Project. By 2005, Japan had invested $391.07 million in Mongolia's development.

Throughout the 2000s, the two countries' relations have strengthened not only financially, but also socially. According to the Embassy of Japan in Mongolia, Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV), Official Development Assistant (ODA), Mongolian-Japanese Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), and other educational and cultural organizations have contributed to Mongolia and Japan's friendly relations.

In terms of cultural interactions, Mongolian sumo wrestlers have made a special contribution. Oka Hiroki, professor of Asian history at the Center for Northeast Asian Studies, Tohoku University, specializing in Mongolian history, wrote, "For some reason the Mongols always seem to catch the Japanese by surprise. The 13th century Mongol invasion materialized out of thin air, as did the more recent 'invasion' of talented sumo wrestlers from Mongolia." In 2003, a Mongolian sumo wrestler, D. Davgadorj became the 68th yokozuna, a member of the sport's highest rank, carrying the honor to Mongolia and strengthening two countries' cultural relations. Davgadorj was the first Mongolian wrestler in the highest sumo rank, and there were many after him.

In 2010, Mongolia and Japan agreed to build a strategic partnership in their diplomatic goals. The strategic partnership derived from a need to tackle global and regional political and security challenges, such as the rise of China, North Korea's nuclear threat, maritime security issues in the South China Sea and East China Sea, and economic ambitions. Japan has become an important "third neighbor" for Mongolia because of both economic relations and the significance of both countries in the Asia-Pacific security sphere. Mongolia's 2011 foreign policy concept specifically highlights the "third neighbor" policy including relations with Japan, in political, economic, and security fora.

In March, 2013, Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe's visit to Mongolia boosted diplomatic relations in three areas: 1) launching Mongolia-Japan-U.S. trilateralism, 2) implementing the Mongolia-Japan economic partnership as medium- and long-term strategic partners, and 3) boosting people-to-people exchange for educational and cultural purposes.

China and Japan compete for Mongolia as a market for imports, exports, and infrastructure and development projects. Japan has won several high-profile contracts. In May 2013, Mitsubishi Corporation and Chiyoga Corporations won the contract to build Mongolia's second international airport at Hushigtiin Hundii, which requires $493 million in investment. On October 22, 2015, Prime Minister Ch. Saikhanbileg's government signed a Mongolian-Japanese economic agreement that included pledges to develop Tavan Tolgoi mining deposits and railways. This agreement was a big blow to the Chinese mining giant China Shenhua Energy Company, whose own investment agreement was denied by the Mongolian parliament and National Security Council for violating a number of laws and regulations. For Japan, partnering to develop Mongolia's biggest mining deposit and mega-infrastructure was a win-win situation.

Mongolia's geopolitical position gives it a crucial role to play between rival nations in the Asia-Pacific, whether China-Japan, Russia-Japan, or South Korea-North Korea-Japan. Mongolia has used its small country diplomacy to mediate over the North Korean nuclear crisis, a position Japan values. On September 27, 2016, the foreign ministers of Mongolia and Japan agreed on condemning North Korea's actions. Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida stated at the time, "Mongolia is an important regional partner that shares principles values with Japan." Mongolia can also help mediate in the rivalry between Russia and Japan to its longstanding good-neighbor relations with Russia throughout history

While Japan has been one of the financiers of Mongolia's development, Mongolia also has supported Japan during hardship. In 2012, during the Fukushima crisis, the Mongolian government donated $1 million and rescue supplies to Miyagi and Ivate prefectures for reconstruction. On the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties, both the Mongolian and Japanese governments hope to make progress on previously signed agreements and commitments. In the upcoming years, two governments will work on the 2017-2021 action plan to further strengthen bilateral ties on economy and security.

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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Deputy Foreign Minister visits Singapore

Ulaanbaatar, March 9 (MONTSAME) On March 3, B.Battsetseg, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mongolia paid a working visit to the Republic of Singapore. In the scope of the visit, she met with Ng Teck Hean, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore to exchange views on issues concerning bilateral relations between Mongolia and Singapore.

During the meeting, State Secretary Ng Teck Hean handed over an invitation of involving young Mongolia diplomats in the short-term training to be organized by the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singaporean in May, to Deputy Minister B.Battsetseg.

Same day, Deputy FM B.Battsetseg attended an event to present a certificate of Mongolian Culture Envoy organized by the Embassy of Mongolia in Singapore. She handed over the certificate to a Singapore citizen Dato Endy Vong.

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8th Francophone Film Festival at Tengis Cinema, March 10-12

March 9 (UB Post) Alliance Francaise de Mongolie will organize the eighth Francophone Film Festival from March 10 to 12 at Tengis Cinema.

The following seven French-language films will be screened:

March 10 at 6:00 p.m. – "My Sweet Pepper Land"

March 11 at 3:00 p.m. – "Augustine"

March 11 at 5:10 p.m. – "The Patience Stone"

March 11 at 7:20 p.m. – "As a Open My eyes"

March 12 at 3:00 p.m. – "Violette"

March 12 at 5:35 p.m. – "Memories"

March 12 at 7:30 p.m. – "The Auction"


Where: Tengis Cinema

When: March 10 to 12

Ticket Price: 3,500 MNT

More Information: 11-351914

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India Can't Be Mongolia

New Delhi's China strategy must apply Chinese dictum "build your strength, bide your time"

March 10 (The Times of India) In a few weeks, when Dalai Lama is scheduled to visit Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, China will be tempted to make a Mongolia out of India. It shouldn't. 2017 is not turning out to be anything like how China imagined at all, just when President Xi Jinping is getting ready to become a leader without a successor.

Foreign secretary S Jaishankar stated 2017 would be a year when Indian foreign policy would "invest" more in China. The newly minted strategic dialogue in Beijing though showed the distance that still needs to be travelled, despite the gloss put on it by India. China is nowhere close to addressing India's concerns. But India and China are nothing if not mature, pragmatic powers, so they decided to do stuff together in Afghanistan. Not wildly exciting, and they continue to have divergent political tools.

China is pushing "reconciliation" with Taliban, India is not. India is clear-eyed about Taliban hosting LeT, JeM, etc against us. China is realising that Uyghur ETIM militants have significantly expanded their presence and activities in Afghanistan, supported by the Afghan Taliban, a wholly owned subsidiary of Pakistan's ISI.

"Brotherly nation" Pakistan was supposed to have put a lid on them, but quite the opposite appears to be happening as ETIM spreads in districts like Zabul and Badakhshan. Meanwhile, China is picking up unnecessary brickbats for shielding Pakistan's terror asset, Masood Azhar, in the UN.

It's an important consideration as Beijing contemplates CPEC connecting Xinjiang to Balochistan. Pakistan politicians and business classes have started murmuring about its "costs and benefits". A Pak Senate body questioned the funding of CPEC – according to officials, China is believed to give only about 4% in grants, the rest would come through commercial loans from Chinese banks.

One only has to look at Sri Lanka to see how that story plays out. CPEC, like Hambantota in Lanka, is revealing itself as a strategic rather than economic project, raising a whole new set of questions for Pakistan, particularly when thousands of acres and a long debt repayment schedule is concerned.

It's not surprising, therefore, that China has taken every opportunity to ask India to join. The latest was the National People's Congress this week, which held out the promise of how CPEC would be good for India. It would, of course, except for the small matter of sovereignty. As Jaishankar said, "The issue is not about connectivity per se."

The surprises of 2017 are not all joy for China. Donald Trump, for instance, is a nightmare they did not see coming. After demanding and getting a one-China admission by Trump, an insult in itself, the Chinese appear to be taking pre-emptive measures on two fronts.

Beijing is amending its Maritime Traffic Safety Law to empower China to "designate specific areas and temporarily bar foreign ships from passing through those areas". It will require foreign submarines to pass through "China's waters" on the surface while flying their national flags to identify themselves. In other words, China is preparing to declare international waters on the 9-dash-line, and perhaps East China Sea as its 'territory'.

Xi is rebuilding the Chinese military to become a younger, meaner fighting machine, which makes the Chinese outrage at THAAD deployment in South Korea understandable – it emasculates China's formidable PLA Rocket Force, which targets US bases in the region.

On the other hand, China clearly doesn't want to give the likes of Peter Navarro and Wilbur Ross an opening – this week, Chinese telecom major ZTE quietly paid up the largest ever fine of $1.19 billion to the US for sanctions-flouting sales to North Korea and Iran. "This penalty is an example of the extraordinary powers the Department of Commerce will use to vigorously protect the interests of the US," intoned Ross. China showed the smallest increase in its defence budget this year, also a sign that it doesn't want to attract the hawks in Washington. Meanwhile, it's fighting a losing battle to keep the yuan up.

Simultaneously, China granted approval to 38 Trump trademarks, a full-sweep approval that is unprecedented. Basically, it would cover Trump businesses including spa/massage services, golf clubs, hotels, insurance, finance and real estate companies, restaurants, bars, bodyguards, social escorts and concierge services – all these businesses in President Trump's name would be legit in China. The coolest pre-emptive strike.

The only superpower with the likes of Pakistan and North Korea as its real allies, China is playing its hide-and-seek battle with the US with typical sophistication. Xi will be in Washington soon, but remember who his first envoy to Trump was – Jack Ma. Xi is positioning himself as the new 'globaliser', using a Silk Road summit in May to fuel OBOR. But Chinese overreach, a little like Pakistan's, is evident in its recent punitive action on South Korean companies for giving land to the US THAAD.

New Delhi's playbook should include a mix of two strategies – a version of "peace through strength" and a Chinese dictum "build your strength, bide your time". America is crucial in India's China strategy, which will probably feature "bigly" in a Modi-Trump conversation.

Dalai Lama told an American comedy anchor this week that common sense is missing from the brains of Chinese officials. "The Chinese hard-liners, in their brain, that part is missing," in his words. Let that advice apply to India too. It's time for PM Modi to be less of a missionary, more of the businessman while balancing China and building India.

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Health & Education

Q3 school holidays to start on March 30

Ulaanbaatar, March 9 (MONTSAME) According to a decision by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Sports of Mongolia, spring holiday of secondary schools in Ulaanbaatar city will start on March 30 to continue until April 5.

Also, students of the secondary schools in the provinces will take a break from March 23 to April 5 for two weeks. The Governors of the provinces have a right to arrange secondary school holiday in connection with the conditions in the respective areas, such as harsh weather, infectious diseases and quarantine.

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Culture & Society

Mongolian livestock herders affected by climate change sent crucial supplies

March 9 (The International Fund for Animal Welfare) After two straight devastating dzuds, summer droughts followed by extremely cold winter temperatures, Mongolian livestock herders are struggling to keep their livestock from freezing or starving to death.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) awarded Cambridge Mongolia Development Appeal (CAMDA) a $10,000 emergency grant to provide those herders mineral blocks, vitamins and supplements for their livestock.

Mongolia has experienced a number of dzuds in the past. Historically, they occur every 12 years. Recently, however, these extreme weather events have increased in frequency—striking in 2016 and again in 2017. These back-to-back devastating dzuds threaten the sustainability of traditional herders.

In 2016, Mongolia reported one million livestock perished during the dzud. In the previous dzud, for which IFAW provided relief back in 2009-10, the country lost between eight and nine million livestock.

While the exact cause of a dzud is unknown, the suspicious culprit of these intense storms is changes to the overall climate in Mongolia. Dry summers and heavy snowfall do not allow grasslands to recover in time for the following grazing season. An increase in livestock numbers mean an increased need for grazing lands. In Mongolia, this is evidence of how damaging climate change can be to a country's culture and livelihood.

IFAW is committed to the welfare of individual animals and their habitats. For us, climate change is an issue which extends across both those issues. Landscapes are essential to the welfare of animals in our world and impact our lives. A recently published report by IFAW, MEASURING WHAT MATTERS: True Wellbeing for Animals and People, presents specific case studies about the intersection of animal and human wellbeing and surveys alternatives which can better measure and protect human wellbeing than the economics-specific Gross National Product measure.

In a letter to the White House, IFAW members asked the President to invest in the future by prioritizing clean energy, rebuilding ecosystems to protect wildlife and people alike from drought, wildfires, and other effects of climate change, and working with other countries to fix the problem at the source.

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Nomad 2017 photo tour highlights the camel

March 9 (UB Post) Over 70 photojournalists from the United Association of Mongolian Photographers gathered in Tseel and Ugtaaltsaidam soums of Tuv Province for the Nomad 2017 photo tour on March 6.

Photographers from Selenge, Tuv, Darkhan and Erdenet provinces took part Nomad 2017.

The United Association of Mongolian Photographers organized the photography tour to help preserve the nomadic traditions of Mongolia and promote ancient migratory ways to tourists.

The photographers captured astonishing moments with Mongolian camel and horses during Nomad 2017. The governor's offices of Ugtaaltsaidam and Tseel soums of Tuv Province helped photographers discover attractions for tourism in rural areas.

The photographers spent a day at herder N.Saruul's home, who spends spring in Ikh Khanginakh, Tseel soum. Herds of camels, nomad culture, the process of migrating, and the lifestyle of nomads were captured by the Nomad 2017 photographers.

During the photo tour, a horsemanship competition took place among 20 herders. A horse herder from Tseel soum, N.Namsrai, won first place.

The United Association of Mongolian Photographers is planning to organize a photo tour every year to share nomadic traditions with the public and develop tourism in rural areas.

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Berkeley event: Evolution of the 20th century Mongolia/China border, in maps

Tour/Open House | March 10 | 11 a.m.-12 p.m. | 50 McCone Hall


Join us for a Maps and More pop up exhibit featuring maps from librarian Susan Powell's photo essay focusing the Mongolian-Chinese border. Find her article here:

Event, 510-642-2997

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The Cartographic Evolution of the Sino-Mongolian Border at Zamyn Üüd/Erlian

by Susan Powell, University of California, Berkeley

December 2016 (Cross Currents: East Asian History and Cultural Review) The shifting relationship between China and Mongolia throughout the twentieth century was played out both on the ground and in maps of their shared border—in the frontier. This cartographic photo essay focuses on one small but distinctive area of the border, where the Trans-Mongolian Railway both perforates the boundary and links the two nations. The twin cities of Zamyn Üüd and Erlian now sit on this crossing, but what was there before, how did this region evolve, and what do cartographic representations of the space tell us? In this essay I address these questions using maps drawn primarily from the library of the University of California, Berkeley.[i]

Today, the border towns of Zamyn Üüd [Замын Үүд] and Erlian [] sit opposite each other in Mongolia and China, respectively, guarding the Trans-Mongolian Railway border crossing, one of the few cartographic piercings of the Sino-Mongolian border on modern maps. In 2007, nearly 70 percent of Mongolian commercial exchanges with China took place across the Zamyn Üüd/Erlian crossing (Lacaze 2012, 112). Despite the economic and symbolic importance of the area, however, the towns are not large (relative to others in their respective countries), and the surrounding countryside is the sparsely populated Gobi Desert (Atwood 2004, 156; Lacaze 2012, 117). Furthermore, even though these two cities and this border crossing are well represented in current print cartography, the space evolved significantly over the twentieth century. Reality on the ground pushes against the tidy representations of both print and digital maps. Figures 1 and 2 show where Zamyn Üüd and Erlian are situated along the modern Sino-Mongolian border. Note in particular the significant shift between Zamyn Üüd's past location and its current one. As documented in this essay, Zamyn Üüd was probably moved during the 1960s.

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Looking Into The Horse Milk Story That The Dalai Lama Told John Oliver

March 9 (NPR) Like so many countries from the former Soviet bloc, Mongolia faced a terrible economic upheaval at the end of the Soviet Union. In the first few years, inflation went up over 250 percent; employment went down.

And people started drinking much more heavily. "Alcoholism was devastating during the economic hardships of the '90s," writes Jargalsaikhan Mendee, a political scientist and former Mongolian defense attaché to the United States, in an email to Goats and Soda.

The Dalai Lama says he made a difference. In an interview last Sunday with news comedian John Oliver, the Tibetan spiritual leader said, "I suggested [to the Mongolians] drink much less vodka. Instead of that, drink horse milk."

"You tried to wean them off vodka by giving them horse milk?" Oliver replied, incredulously.

"Oh yes. Then they follow," the Dalai Lama said. "Since then I think majority of Mongolians no longer any drink."

The Dalai Lama was actually encouraging people to drink more airag, a fermented brew made from mare's milk, Mendee says. It's a popular traditional beverage that has roots in Central Asian nomadic horse culture going back thousands of years and has an alcohol content similar to hard cider. The idea is that by consuming something less intoxicating than vodka, which is commonly drunk, people might be better off. Vodka often contains 30 or 40 percent alcohol whereas airag is around 5 to 10 percent alcohol by volume.

It's not clear when the Dalai Lama first encouraged Mongolians to lay off hard spirits. Some sources suggest it was in 2011, while others believe it was during his fourth visit to the country in 1995.

He hasn't been the only person promoting this message. The current president, Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, began making a similar request of his countrymen in 2011, sometime after the Dalai Lama's fourth visit to Mongolia. Ever since then the president has been urging people to toast with milk — the non-alcoholic variety pulled from goats, cows or sheep– and asking officials not to serve alcohol at government events. The president's office did not respond to a request for comment.

"Those were really good public health initiatives. When the Dalai Lama came up with that slogan for us, 'Drink less vodka. Drink more mare's milk,' that hit people a lot!" says Dr. Tsogtbataar Byambaa, the director of the National Center for Public Health in Mongolia. "A significant percentage of Mongolians are Buddhists. So many people here worship Dalai Lama." And Elbegdorj even received an award from the World Health Organization in 2012 for his efforts to reduce alcoholism.

As the Dalai Lama claimed on Last Week Tonight, it does seem to be the case that most Mongolians don't drink regularly. Only about 36 percent of Mongolians have had an alcoholic drink in the last month based on a WHO survey from 2013, Byambaa says.

It was basically the same in 2009, though. Even before Elbegdorj asked people to consider taking it a little easy on the bottle, only 38 percent of Mongolians reported drinking in the past month. That's low compared to the U.S., where 56 percent of people drink on a monthly basis (and about 27 percent report binge drinking in the past month).

There is some indication that things changed in Mongolia between 2005 and 2009, however. The oldest WHO alcohol data on Mongolia is from a 2005 report, which put the percentage of drinkers at about 60 percent of the population. So the WHO data indicates that there really are fewer Mongolians who drink today than over a decade ago.

But alcohol misuse is still a significant public health hurdle for the country, Byambaa says. "There's a mean number of standard drinks consumed per drinking occasion, he says. "That's 9 for us. Think about that number for a second."

The WHO surveys suggest that many Mongolians who do drink are binging on a staggering amount of booze, Byambaa says. That volume hasn't changed much since 2009 either. "[The mean number of drinks per occasion] was 8.8 drinks in 2009. That one went up a little bit," Byambaa says. "It's very alarming."

Did the Dalai Lama and Elbegdorj's call to "drink milk, not vodka" have any effect on Mongolian drinking habits? Byambaa demurs to the question. "I can't quantify the effect of that," he says. "Anecdotally? Well, I can't say anecdotally."

He added with a chuckle: "Well, who am I to judge Dalai Lama?"

Mendee is a little more forthright on the issue. "I don't think that Dalai Lama and Elbegdorj changed it," he says. After the country's hard transition from communism to a market economy, Mongolia has enjoyed steady economic growth since the mid-1990s. Mendee thinks that economic improvement may have done more for alcohol misuse than public health campaigns from dignitaries. Beer and wine are getting more popular nowadays, Mendee adds.

As to whether or not people have begun drinking more fermented mare's milk since His Holiness endorsed it, Byambaa says that airag has always been popular. "Yeah, I don't know. It looks like milk. It's sour," he says. "I like it. It's my favorite."

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Nature & Environment

The Interactions Between Precipitation, Vegetation and Dust Emission Over Semi-Arid Mongolia

By Yuki Sofue1, Buho Hoshino2*, Yuta Demura3, Eunice Nduati1, Akihiko Kondoh1

1 Department of Earth Sciences, Chiba University, Chiba, 2638522, Japan

2 Laboratory of Environmental Remote Sensing, Rakuno Gakuen University, Ebetsu, 0698501, Japan

3 Field Researchers Corporation CO. Ltd, Sapporo, Hokkaido, 060-0007, Japan

* Correspondence to: Buho Hoshino (

Manuscript under review for journal Atmos. Chem. Phys.

Discussion started: 9 March 2017


Recently, droughts have become widespread in the Northern Hemisphere, including in Mongolia. The ground surface condition, particularly vegetation coverage affects the occurrence of dust storms. The main sources of dust storms in 10 the Asian region are Taklimakan and Gobi deserts. The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between the trend of vegetation variation and the effects of precipitation in the Gobi region. In the Gobi region, precipitation is confined to the period from May to September. We compared the patterns of interactions between precipitation and normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) for a period of 29 years. The precipitation and vegetation datasets were examined to investigate the trends between 1985 - 2013. Cross correlation analysis between the precipitation and the NDVI anomalies was performed.

15 Data analysis showed a decreasing trend in precipitation amount and its spatial shift from the east to west part of the region investigated. The vegetation in the area with the lowest precipitation was more sensitive to the precipitation dynamics than those parts with relatively higher values. The most degraded area was the southwest region of Gobi with the least precipitation.

1 Introduction

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Mongolian MMA fighter to compete for one million dollar prize

March 9 ( International Master of Sport B.Nandin-Erdene, will compete in the MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) Competition, organised by Road FC which offers one million dollars for the winner. B.Nandin-Erdene, who currently lives in South Korea, will fight against Bruna Miranda from the Tiger MMA club of Thailand. The match will be held in the South Korean capital of Seoul. The top sixteen fighters will compete.

Nandin-Erdene was born in 1987 in Ulaanbaatar and graduated from the Ikh Zasag University and Mongolian National Institute of Physical Education. He entered mixed martial arts in 2001 and went on to become an International Master of Sports in boxing, a Sports Master of kickboxing, an Asian karate champion as well as a black belt in taekwondo.

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M.Nandin-Erdene to participate in Road FCMontsame, March 9

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National academy of freestyle wrestling established

Ulaanbaatar, March 9 (MONTSAME) A national academy of freestyle wrestling has been established to train professional athletes of freestyle wrestling and support young wrestlers. Well-known experienced wrestlers and trainers work in the academy, including double silver medalist of the world championships O.Purevbaatar, silver and bronze medalist of the world championships B.Naranbaatar, trainers, who trained the national team in Rio Olympics 2016 B.Bayaraa and L.Enkhbayar.

Wrestlers' team of the academy consisting of over 40 athletes, has departed to participate in the Prix of the Buryatia Republic's President in Ulan-Ude, of Russia. Moreover, some wrestlers, headed by trainer L.Enkhbayar are making joint training with Chinese wrestlers in Hohhot city, China.

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Mandakhnaran Ganzorig takes 6th place in world wresting ranking

Ulaanbaatar, March 9 (MONTSAME) Two Mongolian wrestlers made the Top 20 of the latest UWW (United World Wrestling) ranking from last month.

The ranking list was updated based on the results of the World Cup held in Kermanshah of Iran and the international competition took place in Cuba in February 2017.

In men's 65 kg category, twice bronze medalist of the World Championships of Freestyle Wrestling State Honored Athlete G.Mandakhnaran was ranked at the sixth place, whereas State Honored Athlete P.Unurbat was ranked at the 17th place.

The February rankings were not changed much compared to the previous one, however, there are quite a few important tournaments expected to impact the March rankings. The tournaments include the international competition named after Yashar Dogu and the Kiev championships, Buryatian Presidential Cup and the European cup.

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FIBA-endorsed 3x3 basketball workshop to be held in Mongolia

Ulaanbaatar, March 9 (MONTSAME) With its fast expanding fame, FIBA 3x3 World Championship the largest tournament for 3x3 Basketball in the world is holding a workshop in Mongolia on March 11 and 12 at the Sports Hall of Cultural Palace.

Endorsed by FIBA 3x3, the recently established 3x3 Mongolian Basketball Association will organize the workshop in which the FIBA 3x3's Senior Referee in charge of Asia is invited. During 3x3 Workshop for Mongolian Referees, national 3x3 basketball championship will take place in accordance with FIBA standard basket and court. 

Last year during the 3x3 championship, the public was excited for the match between two silver medalist teams of Asian Beach Games and Universiade. On this day, a total of 8 teams including the members of the North Korean national team, Mongolian national basketball team's U.S Legionnaire members, 2 teams that are preparing for Asian Cup, three times winner of Sprite 3x3 tournament and Mongolian national team's 3x3 group will face-off for the FIBA endorsed cup. Also, the participating team can increase their points of FIBA 3x3 world rankings.

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Art & Entertainment

"If I were a magician" short film competition announced

Ulaanbaatar, March 9 (MONTSAME) Short film festival named "If I were a Magician" will be organized among amateurs by "Nairamdal Rotaract Club" NGO on April 15. The festival is to be held within "The Milky way" project to combat violence against children, for the third time.

A competition has been announced for the festival and all film lovers can submit their work till March 26. Films for the competition are required to be inspiring and appealing every person's participation in prevention, awareness and stopping violence against children.

Prize fund of the festival is MNT5 million and best works will be announced on April 15 at the ICinema where the prize awarding event and public presentation will be held.

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Imax Awards to select best Mongolian films of 2016

March 9 (UB Post) Mongol Film Development Fund and Urgoo Cinema will jointly organize the Imax Awards to select the best Mongolian films of 2016 next month.

The Imax Awards aims to "promote Mongolian filmmakers to the world, support filmmakers to make mind-blowing creations, and educate young generations."

Organizers of the Imax Awards announced a contest for the design of the winner's cup. A.Sodjargal, designer at Erdenet Mining Corporation, won the competition. Over 10 artists competed in the contest.

A total of 46 Mongolian films were officially released in 2016 and the public is able to vote for films in the best make-up artist, best sound engineer, best soundtrack, best music, best supporting actor, best supporting actress, best cinematographer, best script writer, best director, best male protagonist, best female protagonist, best film, best design, and the best film showcasing Mongolian tradition and culture categories through

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How to exchange your foreign driving license for Mongolian

March 9 ( All foreigners will need to get an International Driver's Permit or a Mongolian driver's license before driving in Mongolia. Please note that you must take a written exam before you can obtain a Mongolian driver's license. The written exam is provided only in Mongolia; therefore one must provide their own translator.

Also, if your driver's licence is registered other foreign countries that are member to Vienna Conventions on Road Traffic, then you can apply to exchange it for a Mongolian driver's license. 

You must submit your driving licence permit application to a License Center of General Police Department of Mongolia in person. Remember to bring:

1.    Foreign passport or temporary residence card and its notarized copy 

2.    A foreign driving licence accompanied by an official translation into Mongolian and its notarised copy

3.    Driver`s white page (you can take it from the service hall)

4.    Health examination paper

5.    3x4 sized one photograph 

6.    Payment receipt for MNT 12,500 /Bank account: 900012408, Central State Fund Bank, Receiver organization: Police Office/

For more info on issues related to the driving license, please contact at +976-70006996.

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Mongolia participating in ITB Berlin 2017

Ulaanbaatar, March 9 (MONTSAME) Mongolian delegates are attending the 51st edition of the World's Leading Travel Trade Show ITB Berlin, which is being held in Berlin, Germany on March 8-12. The event is being participated by over 10 thousand companies and entities engaged in the tourism entities from 186 countries. 

Michael Muller, Mayor of Berlin, Iris Gleicke, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economy Affairs and Energy, Christian Goke, Chief Executive Officer of 'Messe Berlin' Company, Michael Frenzel, President of the Federal Association of the German Tourism Industry, Norbert Fiebig, President of the German Travel Association, Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) visited the Mongolian pavilion at the ITB Berlin 2017 giving great emphasis. 

Mongolian delegates led by D.Gantumur, President of the Mongolian Tourism Association are composed of such companies as MIAT, Ger to Ger, Great Chinghis Expedition, Tsolmon Travel, Juulchin, New Juulchin, Nature Tour, Ar Mongol Travel and Star Mongolia.

On the sidelines of the ITB Berlin 2017, 7th UNWTO Silk Road Ministerial Meeting was held focusing on sustainable tourism policies and practices and impact on local Silk Road communities.

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Barclay Travel: Sidegames in Mongolia

March 9 (Barclay Travel Community) While in Mongolia on my tour, I had the pleasure of having some down time with a local school group. They were playing some type of ball kicking game in a circle. I was a willing participant when I went over to grab my camera. We all stayed in yurt type tents, which were well appointed and well attended. They even came in in the middle of the night to stoke the fire, at the center of the yurt. Mongolia is a special place, mixed with chinese and russian influence. Its a destination location, and I recommend it with no reservations.

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Redditors want more information about this photographer riding across Mongolia on horseback

March 9 (Lost at E Minor) One Reddit user seems to have a pretty adventurous life by casually riding across Mongolia for three months with friends as if they were in a Country and Western.

Redditor sickfee49 posted a majestic photograph from his three-month horseback journey across Mongolia. However, the post was fairly elusive which prompted Reddit users to ask for more information.

One user commented: "Whoa whoa whoa… you can't just drop a lead-in like that, one photo and then leave us hanging. There has to be some interesting stories and photos beyond just this."

The traveling man then posted a little insight into the journey, saying that they were surviving primarily on rice and dried meats (a novelty) and oats. They fed their dog rice and occasionally went fishing to change up the tastes.

They were also fortunate to be invited by the locals to dinner.

"When locals invited us into their ger for dinner is when things got really crackin," he said. "They'd make us really great meals (not the best food in general but anything apart from our daily serving was a godsend)."

Unfortunately, they purchased Chinese-made shelters from Ulaanbaatar, which had a tendency to leak. His sleeping bag also broke on the first day of their journey.

So they used the horse pads from underneath the saddles to form a makeshift bed at night. He also commented on the living situations being terribly dirty… to say the least:

"I used the blanket that went on our pack horse at night. Absolutely fucking filthy, horse sweat, dirt, and rain, but better than being cold in Siberia at night."

Their journey is still ongoing and the mates are currently in South America.

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