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Thursday, May 28, 2015

[BREAKING: GoM approves $1 billion int'l bond sale to fund deficit, refinance bonds]

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- BREAKING NEWS -

Thursday, May 28, 2015

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Overseas Market

Oyu Tolgoi Deal Primes Mongolia for $1 Billion Bond Sale: Govt

By Michael Kohn

May 28 (Bloomberg) -- Mongolia to sell up to $1b of bonds due to favorable mkt conditions created by pact with Rio Tinto to develop underground mine at Oyu Tolgoi, govt says on website.

* Intl investors now consider Mongolia as having low risk because Oyu Tolgoi issue resolved: statement

* Ministry of Finance authorized to sell bond in intl market

* Ministry to appoint Development Bank of Mongolia to choose technical adviser, appoint payment agent: statement

* Bonds to fund fiscal deficit at low cost, provide long-term funding, support balance of payments, extend payment time of govt, govt-guaranteed intl securities: statement

* Mongolia taking advantage of “window of opportunity” created by Oyu Tolgoi pact, says Dale Choi, founder of Independent Mongolian Metals & Mining Research

* “The government is pressed financially, so there is an acute fiscal necessity for this”: Choi

* NOTE: Mongolia sold 1st intl bonds in Nov. 2012, $1.5b USD “Chinggis Bonds’

* NOTE: Mongolia’s Trade & Development Bank sold $500m of government-guaranteed notes in May 2015

(BFW)

 

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

INVITATION: 2nd Annual Mongolia Business Summit, 18-20 June, by MEF

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

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2nd Annual Mongolia Business Summit, June 18-20

Initiated in 2014 by entrepreneurs, and supported by the Government of Mongolia, the Summit serves as the unique platform for multi-stakeholders’ discussions on the investment, trade and business environment of Mongolia with the focus on business development expansion and establishing networks in Mongolia.

Why should you attend?

·         Big breakthrough on moving forward on Oyu Tolgoi underground mine. Mongolia and Rio Tinto agree $5bn Oyu Tolgoi mine expansion

·         Offer of $1bln credit line for Mongolia announced during Indian Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi’s visit.

Construction, real estate, infrastructure, tourism and mining are among a number of sectors at the core of the agenda, and the participants of the Summit will be also provided with the exclusive opportunity to observe the development projects of Mongolia on site.

Economic Performance

Regardless of a substantial increase in mining output, growth in Mongolia’s gross domestic product (GDP) slowed to 7.8% in 2014 from 11.6% in 2013. As value added in mining increased by 24.2%, reflecting the first full year of production at the vast Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine, industrial production expanded by 16.1% and contributed 4.8 percentage points to GDP growth. This came in spite of a 16.3% drop in coal production. 

Agriculture remained a driver of growth, rising by 14.4% with favorable weather. Agriculture and services each contributed 1.5 percentage points to GDP growth, while the contribution from industry other than mining was negligible.*

Even with declining GDP growth from previous years, robust growth is expected in agriculture and in mining sector due to expanded extraction at Oyu Tolgoi in 2015.

*Asian Development Outlook 2015. 

To REGISTER click here.

To see Summit agenda click here, see below:

 

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Porsche World Show experience arrives to Ulaanbaatar

Ulaanbaatar, May 20 (Porsche Ulaanbaatar) Just after four months since its official opening in Mongolia, Porsche Ulaanbaatar readies for its first Porsche World Road show, planned to take place between 8-14th, June 2015.

Porsche Ulaanbaatar has just imported 22 high performance sports cars, a selection from each of its bestselling range, to offer Porsche enthusiasts the rare and firsthand experience to test drive the brand’s performance, agility and usability. Over 250 guests will be invited to take part in the road show starting at Sky Resort, and throughout an entire day the participants will be given the opportunity to try the latest cars on three types of course under the instruction of experienced Porsche professional driving instructors.

To mark the occasion, the Head of Porsche Asia Pacific, Mr. Martin Limbert will pay a visit to Mongolia to welcome press and guests to this unique event. 

Porsche is the first high performance sports car brand to build a solid presence in Mongolia and its world standard showroom is due to be constructed by next year.

The brand’s Ulaanbaatar temporary centre currently offers sales of the very latest ranges on offer, at price tags comparable to both Europe and USA, while providing high quality maintenance & repair services to all types of luxury cars.

ENDS

For further details on the planned events please contact Luna Erdenebaatar on 95118911 or via luna.erdenebaatar@porsche-ulaanbaatar.com

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

[BREAKING: OT shareholders end deadlock, sign Phase II development, financing plan]

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- BREAKING NEWS -

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

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Announcement made after TRQ close. TRQ closed +0.46% to US$4.36%, trading further +2.06% to US$4.45 after hours. EGI closed +2.46%, trading +66.37% after hours to US$0.665

Rio in deal with Mongolia on Oyu Tolgoi mine

May 19 (fastFT) At last a breakthrough for Rio Tinto and its copper mine in Mongolia.

The Anglo-Australian miner said late on Monday that it had signed a plan with the government of Mongolia on the long-delayed development of the underground phase of the Oyu Tolgoi mine, reports mining correspondent James Wilson.

Few details were given but Rio said the OT development had taken a "significant step forward". The company has previously been reluctant to acknowledge any progress on a deal with Mongolia to build the underground phase of the mine.

Rio has already invested $6bn in Mongolia but the company has been wrangling with the government over how to split the profits of, and pay for, the larger underground phase.

Monday's signed deal "addresses the key outstanding shareholder issues and sets out an agreed basis for the funding of the project", Rio said.

In a statement released by the company Mongolia's prime minister Chimediin Saikhanbileg said:

Mongolia is back to business. Oyu Tolgoi is a world-class copper-gold asset and its further development is of great economic significance for Mongolia. We have finalised a way forward with our partners which re-establishes the foundations of a new and constructive relationship based on mutual trust and our joint long-term commitment to Mongolia's growth.

Unlocking Oyu Tolgoi's underground mine will have a significant impact on the Mongolian economy, which will benefit Mongolian citizens for generations to come. Our joint agreement clearly positions Mongolia as an attractive country for investment and underscores the fact that Mongolia is open for business.

Link to article

 

Rio Signs Accord With Mongolia to Restart Oyu Tolgoi Development

By Simon Casey

May 19 (Bloomberg) -- Rio Tinto Group and Mongolia reached an agreement to proceed with the underground development of the Oyu Tolgoi copper mine, ending a two-year impasse over the expansion of what is the country’s largest foreign investment.

The mine’s shareholders signed an accord on development and financing, London-based Rio said in a statement.

The plan “addresses the key outstanding shareholder issues and sets out an agreed basis for the funding of the project,” Rio said.

(BFW)

 

OYU TOLGOI SHAREHOLDERS SIGN AGREEMENT TO PROGRESS THE DEVELOPMENT OF UNDERGROUND MINE

May 19 (The Wall Street Transcript) The development of the underground mine at Oyu Tolgoi in Mongolia has taken a significant step forward today with the signing of the Oyu Tolgoi Underground Mine Development and Financing Plan (the Plan) by the Government of Mongolia, Turquoise Hill Resources and Rio Tinto. The Plan addresses the key outstanding shareholder issues and sets out an agreed basis for the funding of the project.

With a new pathway to development of the underground mine agreed, the focus now shifts to finalising the project finance, the feasibility study and securing all necessary permits so that the underground mine development can proceed.

Link to article

 

Rio Tinto : Oyu Tolgoi shareholders sign agreement to progress the development of underground mine

May 18 -- The development of the underground mine at Oyu Tolgoi in Mongolia has taken a significant step forward today with the signing of the Oyu Tolgoi Underground Mine Development and Financing Plan (the Plan) by the Government of Mongolia, Turquoise Hill Resources and Rio Tinto. The Plan addresses the key outstanding shareholder issues and sets out an agreed basis for the funding of the project.

With a new pathway to development of the underground mine agreed, the focus now shifts to finalising the project finance, the feasibility study and securing all necessary permits so that the underground mine development can proceed.

Prime Minister of Mongolia MP Chimediin Saikhanbileg said "Mongolia is back to business. Oyu Tolgoi is a world-class copper-gold asset and its further development is of great economic significance for Mongolia. We have finalised a way forward with our partners which re-establishes the foundations of a new and constructive relationship based on mutual trust and our joint long-term commitment to Mongolia's growth.

"Unlocking Oyu Tolgoi's underground mine will have a significant impact on the Mongolian economy, which will benefit Mongolian citizens for generations to come. Our joint agreement clearly positions Mongolia as an attractive country for investment and underscores the fact that Mongolia is open for business".

Rio Tinto Copper and Coal chief executive Jean-Sébastien Jacques said "Our joint announcement today reflects tremendous leadership by all parties and paves the way for work to resume on the underground development, which is expected to deliver significant value to shareholders. The resolution of the outstanding issues reinforces the principles of the Investment Agreement signed in 2009, which underpinned the US$6 billion invested in Oyu Tolgoi to date, and provides a clear and stable framework for the future."

Turquoise Hill Resources chief executive officer Jeffery Tygesen said "The signing of this agreement is the culmination of extensive work by Oyu Tolgoi's shareholders over the last year. The agreement outlines a pathway to restarting development of the underground mine, and builds on the value that has already been unlocked for Mongolia from the operation of the open-pit mine which is providing jobs and other economic contributions as well as best practices in mining standards."

The construction of the first phase of the pioneering Oyu Tolgoi project - the open-pit mine - was completed on schedule in less than 24 months. The operation celebrated one million tonnes of copper concentrate shipped in March 2015, less than two years after the first production left the mine. Oyu Tolgoi has a workforce that is 95 per cent Mongolian and Oyu Tolgoi LLC has paid $1.3 billion in taxes, fees and other payments to date.

Link to release

 

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

[BREAKING: TDB issues $500m 5-year notes at 9.375% yesterday, 4.6x oversubscribed, up 3.5pts today]

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- BREAKING NEWS -

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

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TDBM Sells $500m 5y Notes at 9.375%

By Allan Lopez

May 12 (Bloomberg) -- The above issue priced today after IPT of 9.75% area and guidance of 9.375%-9.5%.

* Managers: BofAML, DB, ING

* Settlement: May 19

(BFW)

 

TDBM’s New 5Y Bond Rises 3.5pts; Priced at 9.375% Yesterday

By Neha D’silva

May 13 (Bloomberg) -- Trade & Development Bank of Mongolia’s $500m 9.375% 2020 rose to 103.5pts as of 10:37am in Hong Kong, according to a person familiar with the offering.

* Priced at 100 yday

* TDBM gets >$2.3b orders for $500m bond, U.S. investors buy 50%

Related stories:

* TDBM issuance to help Mongolia’s forex reserves, says Nomura

* IN DEPTH: TDBM brings back Mongolian USD bonds after 2.5 years

(BFW

 

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Monday, May 4, 2015

[Novel set to buy up SGQ; IMF warns of OT delay; UB development corp established; and Freedom Online Conf. starts today]

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Monday, May 4, 2015

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Jump to: Overseas Market - Local MarketEconomyPolitics & LegalBusinessUlaanbaatarDiplomacy - Social, Environmental & Other

Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original

 

Overseas Market

Mogi: "falls through" is a completely wrong analogy. What it does is trigger Novel to buy what NUR didn't. TRQ closed +1.92% Friday to US$4.24, EGI closed -6.45% to US$0.44

Turquoise Hill deal to exit Mongolia miner SouthGobi falls through

BY SUSAN TAYLOR

TORONTO, May 1 (Reuters) - A deal that would have allowed Canada's Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd to unload its remaining stake in Mongolian coal miner SouthGobi Resources, a company that was once worth billions of dollars, has fallen through.

Turquoise Hill said on Friday that the agreement with National United Resources Holdings expired on April 30.

The deal's failure marks another setback in Turquoise Hill's effort to sever ties with SouthGobi, a company hit by a slowing Chinese economy, weaker coal prices, accounting problems and funding woes.

Turquoise Hill, a unit of global miner Rio Tinto, said it could not complete the transaction with Hong Kong-listed National United Resources for 56.1 million SouthGobi shares, a 23.3 percent stake, under the terms of the agreement.

The C$12.8 million ($10.5 million) deal was announced in July 2014.

Vancouver-based Turquoise Hill also owns an about 66 percent stake in the massive Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine in Mongolia.

"Our focus is Oyu Tolgoi and we are looking at alternatives for divesting our remaining stake in SouthGobi," Turquoise Hill spokesman Tony Shaffer said in an email.

Last week, Turquoise Hill closed a deal with private Chinese company Novel Sunrise Investments Ltd to sell 48.7 million shares in SouthGobi for about C$17 million.

Turquoise Hill, which was previously known as Ivanhoe Mines and was run by high-profile mining financier Robert Friedland, spun out its coal assets into SouthGobi in 2006, and took a controlling stake.

Friedland, and later Rio, have since tried to monetize that stake. A 2012 deal to sell 60 percent to Chinese aluminum giant Chalco for about C$889 million fell apart because of obstacles put in place by the Mongolian government.

SouthGobi was once worth over C$3 billion, and its shares peaked at C$21.99 in 2008. The stock fell as low as 41 Canadian cents in February, and was trading at 78 Canadian cents on Friday.

In January, a Mongolian court found SouthGobi and three former foreign employees guilty of tax evasion and fined the company nearly $18 million.

SouthGobi has said it will continue to defend itself in the case, but a court refused its appeal this week.

Link to article

Link to TRQ release               

Link to NUR release

Similar:

Turquoise Hill sale of stake in Mongolia's SouthGobi falls throughMINING.com, May 1

 

Agreement Near on Oyu Tolgoi Underground Financing Says Mining Minister

May 1 (news.mn) As stressed by the Minister of Mining, discussions between the investors in the Oyu Togloi project and the Government of Mongolia are continuing normally. Development of the underground mine and financing and planning of the project are nearing agreement. 

In order to launch the underground mine, the two sides are discussing the feasibility study for the project, the investment agreement, and the shareholder's agreement.

As reported yesterday by Minister of Mining R.Jigjid, "The reason why the project has stopped was the financing of the underground mine."

The Board of Directors of Oyu Tolgoi have met and submitted the feasibility study of the underground mine to the Mongolian Mineral Resources Policy Council.  A working group headed by the Head of the Economic, Finance and Investment Department of the Ministry of Mining, N.Enkhbayar, is working on this Feasibility Study now and will reportedly present results soon. 

A team of analysts including 10 professionals from Rio Tinto Group are also joining in this review.    

Link to article

 

Guildford Coal Issued New Mongolian Licence: Baruun Termes Exploration Licence in Uvs

May 4 -- Guildford Coal Limited (Guildford or the Company) (ASX: GUF) is pleased to announce that on April 27, 2015, its Mongolian subsidiary Terra Energy LLC (Terra Energy) has been granted a new exploration licence by the Minerals Resource Authority of Mongolia (MRAM).

The Baruun Termes exploration licence ID NE-025374 complements Terra Energy's current coking coal assets in Mongolia. The licence is located in the Karkhiraa coking coal basin in close proximity to the Huden and Huwtiin coal mining licences. The 111.7 km2 licence has been granted for a term of 3 years. Following the 3-year term, a further 3 years can be granted in stages, up to 12 years, following approval by MRAM.

Location

The Baruun Termes licence is located in the UVS province of North West Mongolia, approximately 60 km North of the Provincial centre Ulaangom. The Provincial centre is accessible by road and a regular aircraft service from the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar.

The road, which transects the licence, provides access from Ulaangom to the Russian border crossing, 12 km to the North at Borshoo. Two local towns (Soum) Davst and Sagil are located in close proximity to the licence.

Infrastructure

The Baruun Termes licence is 12km East of a major 220Kw power line, which runs from Russia to Mongolia. The road between Ulaangom and Borshoo provides easy access to the border crossing and Tuvan Republic of Russia.

Resource / Geology

The Karkhiraa coal basin in North West Mongolia, where the Baruun Termes licence is located, is known for its high quality Carboniferous coking coal deposits. The licence is in close proximity to the Huden and Huwtiin coal mining licences, which target the Huden formation. The Huden coal deposit and mining licence are situated immediately to the North of the Baruun Termes exploration licence.

The Huden deposit was first discovered by Russian miners in 1971. In 1977, a 9 million tonnes resource of coal was calculated at a depth of 30m across C1 and C2 Carboniferous formations of the Huden formation. Further exploration work in 1984 and 1985 included diamond drilling and trenching which delineated 7 coal seams. The quality of the coal is not defined in the historical reports, however field observations indicate coal at surface contained zones of black coal with a bituminous lustre.

Exploration

The Company's exploration strategy for the Baruun Termes licence is to promptly develop a potential resource to JORC and MRAM standards. Guildford will commence with the high prospective target to the North of the licence, in close proximity to the existing mining licences. Initial works will include scaled mapping and ground geophysical survey, to define and confirm priority targets, followed by trenching and initial non-cored drill holes, to determine resource structure and potential size. Finalisation of the resource definition will include cored drill holes and full coal quality assessment for JORC and MRAM resource standards. The exploration strategy is designed cost effectively: targeting cored exploration holes of the resource will enable savings on high cost prospective drilling.

Link to release

 

AKM closed flat Friday at A$0.022, -33.3% YTD

Aspire Mining: Notice of Annual General Meeting, 2 June

May 1, Aspire Mining Ltd. (ASX:AKM) --

Link to release

 

Centerra Gold's (CAGDF) CEO Ian Atkinson on Q1 2015 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Executives

John Pearson – Vice President-Investor Relations

Ian Atkinson – President and Chief Executive Officer

Gordon Reid – Chief Operating Officer

Jeff Parr – Chief Financial Officer

Ron Burk – Vice President-Exploration

Analysts

Botier Sharapov – HSBC

Lawson Winter – Bank of America

Centerra Gold Inc. (OTCPK:CAGDF) Q1 2015 Earnings Conference Call May 1, 2015 11:00 AM ET

Operator

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by. Welcome to the 2015 First Quarter Results Conference Call and Webcast. During the presentation, all participants will be in a listen-only mode. Afterwards, we will conduct a question-and-answer session. [Operator Instructions] As a reminder, this conference is being recorded, Friday, May 1, 2015.

I would like to now turn the conference over to Mr. John Pearson, Vice President-Investor Relations. Please go ahead.

In Mongolia, the parliament is now incision (Mogi: "in session" and we're continuing our discussions with the government to determine the ownership structure of the Gatsuurt Project. In February, the Mongolian Parliament made amendments to the mineral law, relates to the projects – mineral law that were related strictly to the projects designated as those of strategic importance. The amendment allows the government and the investor to negotiate a special purpose royalty of up to 5%. And that is an alternative to the government participating ownership in the project. So we're continuing our discussions with the government on the form that their ownership interest in the Gatsuurt Project will take.

At Boroo gold production in the first quarter of 2015 was 6,400 ounces, which was lower than last year's first quarter and reflects the mill ceasing production in December 2014.

Of the 6,400 ounces produced, 3,600 ounces were recovered from mill cleanup and 2,800 ounces were recovered from secondary leaching up the leach bed, from the leach bed. During the quarter, Boroo remained cash positive.

Link to release

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Local Market

MSE Biweekly Market Makers Report

May 1 (MSE) Regarding the "Market Makers" introduction into securities market by Mongolian Stock Exchange /MSE/, MSE will publish two weeks Market Makers performance report to the public.      

As of 30 April 2015, total of 422 order of the Government retail bonds have been planned to submit and performance of Market Makers shows following results "BDSec"-42.7%, "Standard Investment"-53.1% and "Tenger Capital"-28.4%

As of 30 April 2015

Securities company

Orders planned to submit

Orders submitted

Percentage

1

BDSev

422

180

42.7

2

Standard Investment

422

224

53.1

3

Tenger Capital

422

120

28.4

4

Monsec

422

-

-

*Monsec became Market Maker on 24 March 2015, will be calculated from Market makers report of May. 

Link to release

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Economy

Bank rates at time of sending: TDB (Buy 1,950 Sell 1,964), Khan (Buy 1,952 Sell 1,964), Golomt (Buy 1,950 Sell 1,963), XacBank (Buy 1,952 Sell 1,964), State Bank (Buy 1,950 Sell 1,966)

BoM MNT Rates: Friday, May 1 Close

 

 

5/1

4/30

4/29

4/28

4/27

4/24

4/23

4/22

4/21

4/20

USD

1,959.23

1,960.41

1,962.33

1,963.03

1,963.84

1,962.81

1,964.01

1,964.66

1,969.85

1,970.35

EUR

2,203.06

2,181.25

2,154.34

2,132.93

2,131.16

2,134.26

2,097.66

2,115.55

2,103.41

2,126.80

CNY

315.86

316.12

316.34

316.23

316.61

316.80

316.88

317.10

317.66

317.66

GBP

3,007.42

3,024.81

3,016.49

2,988.03

2,974.43

2,966.79

2,945.03

2,936.18

2,927.69

2,945.67

RUB

38.06

38.24

37.74

37.42

38.62

38.69

37.91

36.58

36.64

38.11

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

Link to rates

 

FX Reserves Fall 2.83% in March to US$1.3 Billion, Down 31.87% from 2014

May 1 (Bank of Mongolia) The Bank of Mongolia has changed its' policy regarding official foreign exchange reserves reporting. The statistics will be published with an one-month lag /previously published with three-months lag/ on the first business day of the following month. Policy is in effect since July, 2014

Gross Reserves

Monthly, %

YTD, %

YOY, %

2015.3

1323.9

-2.83

-19.76

-31.87

2015.2

1362.5

2.61

-17.42

-37.94

2015.1

1327.8

-19.53

-19.53

-45.72

2014.12

1649.9

22.03

-26.6

-26.6

2014.11

1352.1

-3.29

-39.85

-41.46

2014.10

1398.1

-9.37

-37.81

-41.48

2014.9

1542.7

13.38

-31.37

-42.43

2014.8

1360.7

0.8

-39.5

-50.1

2014.7

1349.3

2.4

-40

-55.2

2014.6

1317.5

-17.9

-41.4

-57.6

2014.5

1604.5

-11.9

-28.6

-52.6

2014.4

1821.7

-6.2

-18.9

-48.1

2014.3

1943.3

-11.5

-13.5

-48.8

Link to release

 

Mongolia BoP Pressure 'Major Threat' to Economic Stability: IMF

By Michael Kohn

May 1 (Bloomberg) -- Mongolia's elevated balance of payment pressure is a "major threat" to economic stability and prolonged delays to the Oyu Tolgoi phase-2 mine could further undermine business confidence, slow growth and worsen both external and fiscal indicators, according to a report from the International Monetary Fund.

·         IMF releases 2015 Article IV Consultation Staff Report

·         External risks include further slowdown in China that could reduce Mongolia's export demand, and surges in global volatility that could affect Mongolia's ability to borrow externally: report

·         Growth expected to slow to around 4% during 2015-2017 as Oyu Tolgoi phase 1 enters a relatively mineral-poor layer of earth, and then pick up sharply, particularly from 2020, when OT phase-2 enters production

·         External finances expected to stay under pressure as exports are likely to weaken for a few years as OT project faces unfavorable geological conditions, and imports expected to rise on start of OT-2 construction

·         Rolling over maturing public- and private-sector debts seen as a potential difficulty

·         There is around $2b maturing in 2017, excluding swap line with PBOC, which also matures in 2017

·         IMF staff analysis suggests currency is overvalued by 10% to 15%

·         Overall deficit is expected to approach 10% of GDP, slightly down from 11% in 2014, and above the 2% limit laid out in the Fiscal Stability Law (FSL)

·         IMF policy recommendations include:

·         Fiscal: Cutting consolidated deficit to 4.5% of GDP in 2015 and to around 2% by 2017

·         Monetary: Slowing credit growth and transfer unconventional easing programs to the budget; limit deficit monetization

·         FSL amendments have laid out a path to return debt-to-GDP ratio to 40% limit by 2018, as well as the 2% deficit limit

·         Based on Mongolian authorities definitions, debt amounted to 55% of GDP at end-2014, according to IMF

·         Nominal public debt was 76.5% of GDP last year, according to the IMF's definition: this includes PBOC swap and debt for entire public sector, including state-owned enterprises

·         IMF estimates this will peak at 92.5% of GDP in 2017

·         Recent Debt Management Law departed from international best practice by redefining debt to exclude state enterprise debt and certain government guarantees

·         Banks' balance sheets have doubled over the past two years driven by Bank of Mongolia's large stimulus programs; credit risks have increased significantly on the back of weak underwriting standards

·         Stress tests suggest some banks vulnerable to economic shocks, and capital buffers should be strengthened

·         Mongolian authorities continued to see 8% mortgage program as "highly beneficial" and believed that program should be continued as part of the government's long-term saving policy, in conjunction with ongoing structural reforms of the pension fund

(BFW)

 

From Natural Resource Boom to Sustainable Economic Growth: Lessons for Mongolia

April 30 (IMF) --

Author/Editor:

Pranav Gupta ; Grace Bin Li ; Jiangyan Yu

 

Publication Date:

April 30, 2015

 

Electronic Access:

Free Full text (PDF file size is 959KB). 

Disclaimer: This Working Paper should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF. The views expressed in this Working Paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the IMF or IMF policy. Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to further debate

Summary: Some resource-rich developing countries are in the process of harnessing immense mining resources towards inclusive growth and prosperity. Nevertheless, tapping into natural resources could be challenging given the large front-loaded investment, volatile capital flows and exposure to global commodity markets. Public investment is needed to remove the often-large infrastructure gap and unlock the economic potential. However, too rapid fiscal outlays could push the economy to its limit of absorptive capacity and increase macro-financial vulnerabilities. This paper utilizes a structural model-based approach to analyze macroeconomic impacts of different public investment strategies on key fiscal and non-fiscal variables such as debt, consumption, sovereign wealth fund, and real exchange rates. We apply the model to Mongolia and draw policy recommendations from the analysis. We find that fiscal policy adjustment, particularly moderating infrastructure investment and optimizing investment efficiency is needed to maintain macroeconomic and external stability, as well as to boost the long-term sustainable growth for Mongolia.

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Politics & Legal

Speaker establishes 2nd working group on TT led by advisor Gansukh

May 1 (gogo.mn) Working Group on TT deal led by MP L.Erdenechimeg which is to decide whether to discuss TT deal by the State Great Khural was established. However, the Speaker of the Parliament assigned to establish two working groups on TT deal.

Sub working group is to be led by A.Gansukh, Legal Advisor to the Speaker of the Parliament.

Below are the members:

·         B.Batbileg, Acting Vice Director of Finance at Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi JSC

·         M.Myagmar-Erdene, Vice Director of Industry at Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi JSC

·         I.Indranila, Legal Advisor at Erdenes Oyutolgoi LLC.

Link to article

 

PM Presents Tax Reform Plans to Parliament

By E.Oyundari

May 3 (UB Post) Taxes will not be increased or decreased, pointed out Prime Minister of Mongolia Ch.Saikhanbileg during an official statement made at the parliamentary session meeting last Friday.

According to the tax payment performance reported in International Finance Corporation's 2015 entrepreneurship survey, Mongolia ranked 84th for its pleasant tax environment and became the world's 28th country for less taxation.

The economic environment of Mongolia is growing rapidly, engaging in international economic relations. Large international-level projects and programs implemented in Mongolia have been established under transnational corporations. In order to manage the current social and economic conditions and to improve the tax environment in a timely manner, adjusting to current conditions, there is an urgent demand to renew laws and regulations on taxation, stated the Premier.

Society is calling for upgrades to the taxation environment, making it more fair, simple and understandable, meeting international standards and supporting entrepreneurship and investment, the Premier underlined. He stressed that he will adhere to a policy to keep the current taxation rate and percentages stable and will not increase them in the future.

"Some foreign countries are looking for ways to get over the economic crisis by increasing taxes. But we believe that that method will but a burden on entrepreneurs.

"Mongolia's economy is growing, relying on consumption. Mongolia has not accumulated huge income and assets like developed foreign countries. Therefore, it is correct to keep the taxation system based on consumption tax and follow basic directions to improve it further," he added.

"The main purpose of the tax reform is to make the Law on Taxes equal and fair. An owner of a small diner, who is not registered as an entity, pays tax of 300,000 MNT a year. Meanwhile, an employee with a daily income of 25,000 MNT pays tax of 720,000 MNT a year. This shows that the taxation system of Mongolia should be renewed quickly and should become more fair," Ch.Saikhanbileg noted and announced that he will develop a tax law on assets directed at wealthy people, and a separate tax law directed at increasing the numbers of employed citizens with steady income.

"The tax environment will be altered to support entrepreneurship and investment. According to the International Finance Corporation survey, SMEs make up 45 percent of all jobs in developing countries and make up 33 percent of GDP. In other words, SMEs play a vital role in economic growth and employment.

"A draft law on SMEs with annual sales income of less than 1.5 billion MNT receiving returns of 90 percent of taxes paid to cover a certain period each year, has been delivered to the Parliament is expected to be discussed in the near future.

"The Government of Mongolia will register the cash in circulation using the feature of value added taxes and will educate citizens on a culture of controlling their consumption. This will help reduce the shadow economy. The role of value added tax is to increase controls on the market rather than to generate budget income. Therefore, opportunities will become available for citizens to receive returns of 20 percent of taxes paid by registering their own purchases.

"We are planning to make changes to the law to prevent tax payers from violating laws and regulations, advising them and cooperating with them, as well as notifying them in advance instead of causing a burden with audits.

"It is time to renew tax accountability and fines, the system where an entity failed to report taxable income and paid less fines than an entity that couldn't pay taxes on time even though it submitted a tax report truthfully. Also, the current system that sentences legal bodies that avoid taxes to prison terms should be renewed eventually."

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Divisive turn of events surrounding Tavan Tolgoi

By Jargalsaikhan "De Facto" Dambadarjaa

May 3 (UB Post) Opinions are divided over how and with whom the Tavan Tolgoi coal mine should be operated. This difference in opinions can now be seen within the government and among the people.

The government made a decision to grant the right to extract, process, transport, and sell the coal to a consortium of Mongolia's Energy Resources, China's state-owned Shenhua Energy Group, and Japan's Sumitomo Corporation. Despite receiving support from the President, this decision was opposed by the Speaker of Parliament. This move widened the cracks within the Democratic Party, which currently has the ruling power all to itself for the first time in history, and left a big fissure in Mongolia's politics.

Z.Enkhbold, Speaker of Parliament, claimed that the draft agreement to be established between the consortium and the government is not consistent with Mongolian laws, and insisted that it must be discussed by the parliament.

Seeing the Tavan Tolgoi deal as an opportunity to promote themselves, all political forces – including parties that have seats in the parliament and those who do not, and independent members of parliament – are increasingly sharing their views on the topic. The same thing is happening among the people as opinions are becoming more divided. As a consequence, it looks like the final decision will be stalled until the formation of a new government, as the whole discussion is likely to be used for promotion during the upcoming election. It could worsen the current economic decline.

NATURE OF DIVISION

It is calculated by the globally accepted JORC code that the Tavan Tolgoi deposit has reserves of 7.4 billion tons of coking coal. The deposit's extractable reserves are around 5 billion tons, which is projected to yield 250 billion USD in the next 50 years, providing that one ton would be sold for 50 USD at the border with China.

In order to reach this sales target, approximately 10 billion USD needs to be invested to build a power plant, a coal preparation plant that washes and deep processes coal, and a 270 km-long railroad to China. As coal and electricity will be almost entirely purchased by China, it is sensible to attract investment from a large, experienced company from China to mitigate risks.

That is why Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi attempted to set up a consortium with Shenhua Energy and US-based Peabody Energy to put the Tavan Tolgoi deposit in economic circulation. However, it did not happen in the end.

From 2011 to 2014, Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi had sales worth 800 billion MNT from exporting a total of 10.4 million tons of coal. The company has 610 full-time employees and around five thousand contractors. Also, they have a total debt of over 600 million USD and are currently selling coal for 32 USD per ton at the mine.

Energy Resources, which operates in four percent of Tavan Tolgoi's total reserves, has been extracting coal for the last seven years. They raised one billion USD through loans and some 600 million USD through shares on foreign stock exchanges.

Energy Resources used the capital they raised on building a coal washing plant and a road to the southern border. Also, they were selected for the public tender on Tavan Tolgoi in a consortium with Shenhua Energy to extract coal and build a railroad, and Sumitomo to sell the coal to China and other international buyers.

It is clear that every option around how to run the Tavan Tolgoi project, which involves an enormous sum of money that would equal half of our economy, has always reflected the balance of power in politics.

The decision on how to make use of this world-class deposit will define the course of development for Mongolia in the future.

Ten percent of Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi is owned by the people and another 10 percent is owned by private companies. Therefore, there is a need to listen to these shareholders regardless of whatever decision is made.

However, it seems that the government is mocking the people once again when they explain that the shares given to the people do not come with the right to make choices.

Political parties acquire ruling power through elections. But, their financing is undisclosed, as the capability of our government weakens due to corruption. State-owned companies are now owned by political parties. In this situation, the people have no trust in the government. On the other hand, there is public discontent for the trend where private companies, despite having good internal governance, manage to have the government make decisions in their favor.

There is a strong likelihood that the status quo of political forces today will not allow the Tavan Tolgoi deal proposed by the government to go through.

PUBLIC EXPECTATION

The second biggest economy in the world still represents a strong demand for Mongolia's coal to use for its steel production. We need to learn our lessons from how Canada took advantage of its geographical location, benefitting from being next to the world's biggest market.

We will be able to compete with Australia, the United States, and other countries only when our coal is efficiently delivered to China's east coast, where the biggest clients are.

Mongolia will only be able to substantially develop its coal industry by operating globally. This means the Tavan Tolgoi deposit will have to be managed in a way that it is profitable in the long term, environmentally friendly, stable, and beneficial to the local community regardless of price fluctuations. The infrastructure projects including roads, water, a power plant, and coal washing plant need to be managed properly to develop the West and East Tsankhis.

In order to be efficient and stable, everything including mining operations, safety, environment, and the workforce needs to be managed in an integrated manner. It will allow the Tavan Tolgoi deposit to have higher value. As a result, it will be profitable to offer Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi shares on the international stock market. The people of Mongolia expect that we would manage to do that.

However, there currently is a growing division over how Mongolia should develop the Tavan Tolgoi deposit in the most optimal way.

Trans. by B.AMAR

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Mogi: what Dutch Disease? We're suffering from the polar opposite of Dutch Disease

Dutch disease hits Mongolia — with a little help from Canadian mining

By Jonathan Manthorpe

May 1 (iPolitics.ca) Mongolia has a nasty case of Dutch Disease — and Canadian mining companies are a big part of the infection.

Since Mongolia emerged from the Soviet Union 25 years ago, its political and economic development have been badly distorted by the fact that the country's boundless grassland steppe and deserts cover a treasure house of immensely valuable minerals, especially high-grade coal, copper and gold.

Successive governments in Ulaan Baatar have become mesmerized by visions of endless streams of revenue from the country's mineral wealth. Expectations have become unrealistic, leading to unsustainable moves such as this week's proposal to impose on mining companies a windfall tax of 68 per cent above artificially low base prices on many metals.

The 18 Canadian mining companies known to be operating in Mongolia have led the international charge to unlock Mongolia's hidden wealth. In the vanguard — both in exploration and in fraught and tortuous negotiations with the Ulaan Baatar government — is Vancouver-based Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. Ivanhoe brought global attention to Mongolia's mineral prospects in 2001 with the discovery of one of the largest known reserves of gold and copper, worth an estimated $200 billion, at Oyu Tolgoi in the Gobi Desert near the Chinese border.

Years of wrangling, which saw Anglo-Australian giant Rio Tinto take majority control and the Mongolian government take a 34 per cent interest, ended early in April when Ulaan Baatar agreed to its share of the $5 billion cost of the mine's second phase.

Mongolia's capital has become a bonanza, frontier city thronging with the whole spectrum of mining speculators, from upright executives to dubious carpetbaggers, looking for that jackpot that will make them legitimate. Circling around are all the usual camp followers — madams and their broods, self-appointed high-end chefs, inventive lawyers and practitioners of the dark art of risk analysis.

Money, real and imagined, greases everything that moves. Revenues from existing mines and expectations of gargantuan royalties to come have perverted and narrowed Mongolian governments' vision of the future. They exhibit all the symptoms of full-blown Dutch Disease — named for the Netherlands in the 1960s, when revenues from vast natural gas deposits under the North Sea led to the neglect and death of otherwise vibrant industries.

In Mongolia, where the economy was until recently a simple equation of largely self-sufficient nomadic herders roaming the steppe and producing meat and kashmir wool, it's a case of abundant natural resources stunting and distorting development rather than killing existing industries. Mineral revenues make up a third of the government's income and approaching 20 per cent of Mongolia's gross domestic product. And as mineral exports have grown to 80 per cent of the total, the role of agriculture and what industry there was has withered from lack of attention.

Funding for social services has suffered dramatic cuts, and there has been a dangerous lack of investment in the full panoply of infrastructure without which no modern state can function. And as Canadians know full well, dependence on the highly volatile global resource market makes a country very vulnerable to downturns like the 2008 worldwide recession.

But the lure of resource riches has led to bitter and persistent legal and political conflict between mining companies and Ulaan Baatar as successive governments and the country's three million people struggle to control and adapt to the tectonic changes that have overtaken their country.

The Mongolian government threw one such knuckleball this week when it signalled it will not obey an order by an international tribunal that it pay more than $100 million to the Canadian uranium exploration company Khan Resources Inc. The order was made in an attempt at reconciliation with the company after the Ulaan Baatar government in 2009 expropriated a majority interest in Khan's prospective uranium mine at Dornod, on Mongolia's southeastern border with China. Ulaan Baatar suspended and then cancelled Khan's mining licenses before passing the rights to Russia's ARMZ, part of Moscow's state-owned Rosatom uranium mining company.

The whole episode has a strong whiff of the corruption that so often accompanies the Dutch Disease, and which has become pervasive throughout Mongolian society.

(A tragic element in the Khan Resources story is that 10 days ago the company chairman, prominent Toronto businessman Jim Doak, flew to Mongolia for a final attempt to negotiate a settlement with Ulaan Baatar after the $100 million court order. Doak died in his hotel room, apparently from natural causes.)

Uncertainty about whether putting money into Mongolia is worth the trouble or the risk is showing up in national statistics. In the first six months of last year, foreign investment in Mongolia fell about 70 per cent over 2013, when it fell 54 per cent from the year before. In all, foreign investment has dropped over 80 per cent in two years.

Khan Resources, Ivanhoe Mines and other mineral exploration and development companies have been buffeted by waves of economic nationalism that have surged and ebbed with varying intensity since Mongolia's independence in 1990. (Mongolia was absorbed into the Soviet Union in 1924.)

Mongolian nationhood is a tender plant that has had little chance to establish strong roots. Landlocked between Russia and China, and deeply suspicious of the ambitions of both, Mongolia has to exert its sovereignty where it can. That's a difficult but manageable trick in mature democracies. But in the 1990s Mongolia had democracy thrust upon it too fast — largely at the insistence of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank — without any cultural or administrative history of democracy on which to build.

The result has been a chaotic and tempestuous ride as Mongolian politicians and their voters attempt to become adept at riding the democracy bicycle without wobbling into the ditch. They have also struggled to construct an accountable and effective administrative and legal system, and to deal with the throngs of lustful mining companies, hammering at the door and offering fat envelopes.

Perhaps, then, the best thing that could happen for Mongolia is for the mining companies to throw up their hands and march off elsewhere. That would give Ulaan Baatar a breathing space, time to reassess the last 25 years — and to rid itself of the effects of Dutch Disease.

Jonathan Manthorpe is the author of "Forbidden Nation: A History of Taiwan," published by Palgrave-Macmillan. He has been a foreign correspondent and international affairs columnist for nearly 40 years. He was European bureau chief for the Toronto Star and then Southam News in the late 1970s and the 1980s. In 1989 he was appointed Africa correspondent by Southam News and in 1993 was posted to Hong Kong to cover Asia. For the last few years he has been based in Vancouver, writing international affairs columns for what is now the Postmedia Group. He left the group last year and now writes for a range of newspapers and websites. jonathan.manthorpe@gmail.com

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Mogi: GOP has been mentoring DP from 1990. Ta-daaaaa!

Mongolia, 25 years from Soviet satellite to democratic partner

By Mark Green, president of the International Republican Institute, former U.S. ambassador to Tanzania and former member of Congress representing Wisconsin's 8th District

May 1 (The Hill) In 1990, like many countries in Central and Eastern Europe, Mongolia began its historic and peaceful transition to democracy. Although the world's media were not focused on events in this Soviet satellite state, the International Republican Institute (IRI) opened an office and started the rewarding work of helping people gain a voice in their system of government.

It was an exciting time for Mongolians and for IRI, and like many countries moving from one-party, authoritarian rule to multiparty democracy, the first elections were won by the formerly communist Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party. However, the democratic opposition did not give up. Over the next few years, with the help of IRI and others, they came together as a coalition, strengthened their platform and voter outreach efforts and campaigned hard.

Looking to the successful Contract with America, members of the U.S. Congress traveled to Mongolia and helped the democratic opposition develop their own Contract with Mongolia, which focused on synthesizing the parties' various platforms and provided a coordinated strategy for grassroots voter outreach. Armed with a strong message that resonated with voters and a platform that addressed the needs of ordinary Mongolians, the opposition headed into the 1996 elections led by Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj. Winning 50 out of 76 seats that year, the democratic coalition took power and began to usher in a new era of openness.

From those early days of revolution and then transition, Mongolia has steadily strengthened its democratic institutions, market-based economy and its role in the region. And today, a free and democratic Mongolia faces choices — because they have choices.

Since Mongolia's transition to multiparty democracy and market-based economy, Mongolia's natural resources have offered great potential. In the past few years, the resource boom has helped Mongolia become one of Asia's fastest-growing economies. However, these natural resources have also posed demanding hurdles for sustainable and effective management and many Mongolians have come to believe that development of its vast mining resources has not resulted in broad-based, inclusive growth and benefits across the land — a challenge many other countries face as well.

Today, friends of Mongolia should stand ready to help, much as we did a quarter century ago. And IRI's experience in Mongolia, and our firm belief in the Mongolian people, shows us that much of that needed help doesn't have to mean money. The need we see is a focused effort to build institutions of collaborative development and constructive engagement — between communities and investors, citizens and businesses. For if democracy is to succeed anywhere, it must engage citizens and improve their daily lives.

To make Mongolia's democracy even more vibrant and meaningful for everyday citizens, we must forge and enshrine a dialogue involving government, business and civil society. We must make democracy work not only inside the parliament, but in communities all across the country.

In the business world, people talk about the concept of shared value to measure not just how to improve core business performance, but also how to improve socioeconomic outcomes and support community development. That same concept can be at the heart of new governance in and around Mongolia's resource-driven development — creating shared, value-driven plans and timing those plans with shared victory.

To do this, Mongolia needs to not only engage citizens in community development, but they also need to address a challenge that faces every country: corruption. In economic terms, corruption robs citizens of their birthright, it saps an economy of its potential by diverting resources from their highest and best use and it scares investors from investing, from creating jobs and building a revenue base.

In democratic terms, corruption shakes people's faith in their leaders and destroys their will to fully participate in shaping their country's future. The good news is Mongolia has leaders who understand the evil that corruption presents, and leaders who are willing to take it on, leaders like Capital City Governor and Mayor of Ulaanbaatar Erdeniin Bat-Üül, who has made fighting corruption his No. 1 priority.

And this is another area where Mongolia's friends, specifically the U.S., need to continue to support the country's efforts. At IRI, we have helped Bat-Üül wage his battle against corruption by providing technical assistance and support. We have helped identify vulnerabilities to corruption within the municipal government in the areas of land allocation, public procurement and permits, and have outlined specific recommendations on how the Ulaanbaatar city government can address those vulnerabilities. To show his commitment to this effort, Bat-Üül publicly signed the Ulaanbaatar Declaration against Corruption during a two-day forum co-hosted by IRI and others. And with IRI's technical support and input, Bat-Üül crafted a five-year strategic plan to fight corruption that passed by the Ulaanbaatar city council this past January.

These are the efforts that need our support if Mongolia is going to grow and thrive, economically and democratically. A democratic anchor in an increasingly undemocratic region, Mongolia is uniquely positioned to be a role model of successful democratic transition as well as a case study in how to address the myriad challenges that a new and consolidating democracy faces. American investment — financial and technical — is the key to meeting that need and doing so in the right way: transparently and in line with sound market principles so that broad-based economic growth can surge once again.

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Media Advisory: Mongolia's human rights record to be reviewed by Universal Periodic Review

GENEVA, 1 May 2015 (UNDP) – Mongolia's human rights record will be examined by the UN Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group for the second time on Tuesday 5 May 2015 in a meeting that will be webcast live.

Mongolia is one of the 14 States to be reviewed by the UPR Working Group during its upcoming session taking place from 4 to 15 May. Mongolia's first UPR review took place on 2 November 2010.

The documents on which the reviews are based are: 1) national report - information provided by the State under review 2) information contained in the reports of independent human rights experts and groups, known as the Special Procedures, human rights treaty bodies, and other UN entities; 3) information provided by other stakeholders including national human rights institutions, regional organizations and civil society groups.

Among the issues raised in the above-mentioned documents are:  investigating cases of torture and steps to prevent such acts and the use of statements and confessions obtained under torture; conditions of detention facilities; addressing allegations of corruption and reforming the judiciary; promotion of the rights of women, including addressing cases of gender-based and domestic violence; protecting the rights of LGBT persons and addressing negative social attitudes; the Law on Gender Equality; protecting the rights of the child and addressing cases of violence against children and child labour; combatting human trafficking and compensation and rehabilitation for victims; accessibility for persons with disabilities to public services; the right to form trade unions; and the human rights impacts of business activities of the extractive industry.

The three reports serving as the basis for the review of Mongolia on 5 May can be found here: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/MNSession22.aspx

Location: Room 20, Palais des Nations, Geneva

Time and date: 14.30 – 18.00, Tuesday 5 May (Geneva time, GMT +1 hour)

The UPR is a unique process which involves a periodic review of the human rights records of all 193 UN Member States.  Since its first meeting was held in April 2008, all 193 UN member States have been reviewed during the first UPR cycle and 126 thus far during the second cycle.  The second review of States aims to highlight human rights developments in the country since its first review and provides an opportunity for States under review to spell out steps taken to implement recommendations posed during their first reviews.

The delegation of Mongolia will be headed by XXXXX

The three country representatives serving as rapporteurs ("troika") for the review of Mongolia are:  Cuba, The Netherlands and Sierra Leone.

The webcast of the session will be at http://webtv.un.org

The list of speakers and all available statements to be delivered during the review of Mongolia will be posted on the UPR Extranet at the following link [username:  hrc extranet (with space); password: 1session]: https://extranet.ohchr.org/sites/upr/Sessions/22session/Mongolia/Pages/default.aspx

The UPR Working Group is scheduled to adopt the recommendations of Mongolia 16.30 on 8 May. The State under review may wish you to express its positions on recommendations posed to it during their review.  The recommendations will be shared with the media on this day in advance.   

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Draft Law on Trade being discussed

May 1 (gogo.mn) Today the plenary session of the State Great Khural discusses the draft law on Trade, submitted by the cabinet last month.

The introduction on the draft law was done D.Erdenebat, Minister of Industry.

He emphasized the importance of the trade entities as those are the main distributors of the manufacture goods to its final consumers, this sector involves 152,000 individuals employed. Moreover, minister noted that Mongolia spent several years relying on just mining sector with increase in the imports reaching 75 percent, while the exports haven't seen much expansion. The main reason for development of this law is to create favorable trade environment for the businesses of this sector.

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Mongolia Celebrates World Press Freedom Day

May 3 (UB Post) Mongolia organized several events to celebrate World Press Freedom Day, a global observance marked annually on May 3 to raise awareness of the importance of the freedom of the press and to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom.

The Mongolian Journalists' Union held the very first Mongolian Forum on Digital Journalism two days prior to World Press Freedom Day and Globe International Center, a Mongolian NGO, organized the "Freedom Expression is a Human Right" round table discussion on May 3 at the conference hall of the Open Society in Ulaanbaatar.

To celebrate World Press Freedom Day, journalists all around the world unite to call for press freedom and freedom of expression on this special day. This year's World Press Freedom Day in Mongolia was focused on raising the most pressing issues facing Mongolian journalists and advocating for securing a free and open Internet in connection with the fifth Freedom Online Conference to take place from May 4 to 5, 2015, in Ulaanbaatar.

In addition, it's likely for Mongolia to adopt a new law on press freedom as the Government of Mongolia has initiated a brand new draft bill on media freedom and another draft for the Broadcast Law. Press and media communities in Mongolia are looking at the bills optimistically since many positive changes were addressed by the draft bills, including increasing the transparency of media ownership, ensuring editorial independence, adopting new editorial ethics and rules, and establishing a Media Ethnics Council for discussing professional errors. A Mongolian Media Ethics Council with 15 members was formed earlier this year.

However, a draft bill on the Criminal Law of Mongolia states that professional journalism "errors" will face the same punishment as theft, robbery, and assault crimes. Experts in the field consider this very dangerous for journalists. In international communities, violating the rights of journalists or the confinement of journalists are considered crimes against press freedom. Members of the Mongolian press and media hope for this article to be reconsidered and not enacted in the law.

To mark World Press Freedom Day, Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova released a video message, calling on all governments and all women and men to stand with UNESCO, "to bolster freedom of expression today and tomorrow, as we set a new global sustainable development agenda to follow in 2015."

"World Press Freedom Day is the day when we raise the flag for freedom of expression, online and offline. This is the day when we stand up for the safety of journalists and combat impunity across the world. It is the day when we make our voices heard so that every woman and man can speak out, so that all may be empowered through access to information," she said, adding, "These rights are essential for human dignity – they are also vital for all other rights, for good governance, democracy and the rule of law, for inclusive and sustainable development."

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GoGo News Agency Adopts Code of Ethics on World Press Freedom Day

May 1 (gogo.mn) In view of the World Press Freedom day GoGo News Agency endorses its Ethics Code and held a MOU signing ceremony. 

MOU was signed by G.Gantuya, CEO of GoGo News Agency and U.Tamiraa, Deputy Director of the Press Council Board of Directors. 

The ceremony was attended by the employees of the GoGo News Agency and Ts.Chimeddondog, Member of Newspaper, Magazines and Websites Ethics Board of the Press Council and O.Ariunbileg, Editor-in-Chief of GoGo News Agency

GoGo News Agency CEO G.Gantuya:

-What is the reason for GoGo.mn to endorse its ethics code?

-It has been 8 years since the establishment of the GoGo.mn website. During this time we have been keen on delivering trusted sources of information in a timely, unbiased and ethical manner. Therefore, it was an inevitable act for us to endorse our Ethics Code and state it to our readers, viewers and the audience. It is the start for our news agency and we will work on improving and developing the idea further. 

Deputy Director of the Press Council Board of Directors U.Tamiraa:

-Your thoughts on endorsement of the Ethics Code by the GoGo News Agency?

-It hasn't been long since the Press Council has approved the Press Ethics Code. Our next step was to disseminate the Ethics Code throughout the press and media agencies in Mongolia. I really appreciate the act of GoGo News Agency on being sensitive and being a pioneer in disseminating the Ethics Code among the press and media entities in Mongolia. Having an ethics code is one criteria of reliable, unbiased and healthy media.

-Ethics Code in press sector can be perceived differently by the journalists and the audience. Could you please explain what advancements we can experience with the endorsement of the ethics?

-In simple words readers and viewers are enabled to receive unbiased and trusted information. For journalists this will be the tool to be used to avoid any potential mistake that might lead to a trial.

We are delivering Ethics Code of GoGo News Agency.

ETHICS CODE OF GOGO NEWS AGENCY  

We declare to conduct our activities in correspondence with the main principles of journalism and reporting of the factual information respecting the interests of the public and adhere to the professional standards and ethics code of the GoGo.mn website.

Ethics Code

Guidelines

1. Protect the rights of the citizens to receive trusted information through careful examination of the source.

1.1 Refuse to publish any news with no proper investigation and examination on the source of the information to the public.

1.2   Name the source of the news.

1.3 Deliver the information without distorting the news structure and content through the misuse linguistic and technical tools.

1.4 Ensure the same rights of expression to all the involved sources of the infromation.

2. Ensure the public freedom to express  their views, criticize and provide explanations.

2.1 Refuse to edit and monitor any information serving the public rights by the parties having conflict of interest.

2.2 Timely Adjustment to any information we are liable for in case the sources have confirmed the misleading informaiton, slander or negative impact on an individual.

3. Fair collection of the information and respectful approach to the source.

3.1 Site journalist is to openly introduce to the source and have an unbiased approach.

3.2 In case of obstacles posed at approaching sources of information serving the interests of the public our news agency enables the journalists to do anonimous investigation using surveilance tools and means.

3.3 Protect the rights of the sources by not naming the source in any case.

4. Journalist should be independent when conducting duties.

4.1 Be separate from any act of corruption, altering the source, content, use of the information to serve for personal interest.

4.2 Always define the opinion and facts and deliver in approapriate format.

4.3 Paid and requested information should be labeled as such.

5.  No discriminaiton based upon race, opinion, nationality, religious views, class, cast and living environment.

5.1 Respect the lifestyle of an individual with less significance to the information, such as victim of a crime, suspect of a crime should be informed anonimously by blurring the image in a photo and video content and publish only with the consent of the responsible persons.

5.2 Respect any life event of an individual and be highly professional and sensitive when photographing and taking videos.

6. We view the breach of the copyright and plaigarism as unethical act an strongly forbid any such act in our activities.

6.1 Respect the fellow professionals and endorse fair competition.

6.2 Fully cite the works of fellow journalists in case of using their sources and information.

7. Every employee and journalist under GoGo News Agency should adhere and respect the Ethics Code.

 

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Sales of reserve meat at 23.5%

May 1 (gogo.mn) Reserve meat is being on sale from 1st of April in Ulaanbaatar, Darkhan and Erdenet cities and currently, 3294 tons of reserve meat has sold out.

This year, 12 tons of reserve meat is being supplied to UB city residents:

·         Baatruud Tenger LLC -  3,212,7 tons

·         Mah Impex LLC - 3,112,1 tons

·         Mah Market LLC - 3,006,5 tons

·         ANDM LLC -  3,035 tons

Darkhan Meat Food LLC reserved 1084 tons of meat in Darkhan city and Erdmeat LLC reserved 1096,9 tons of meat in Erdenet city.

Below is the prices for reserved meat:

·         beef - MNT 8000

·         beef with bones - MNT 5950 

·         goat meat - MNT 6500

·         goat meat with bones - MNT 6500

·         mutton with bones - MNT 5750

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Environmentalists oppose decision to export 100 saker falcons

April 30 (news.mn) Head of the Mongolian Civil Council for Environment and Wildlife Protection Society S.Damdinsuren has stressed that the number of falcons to be exported to foreign countries should not be more than 10, and the government's decision to allow the export of 100 falcons is too high.  

At the regular meeting of the Government on April 28, amendments were made to the number of wildlife permitted for hunting and capture in 2015. The number of sacker falcons allowed for export was raised to 100 due to reports that the bird's population has grown.

Sacker falcons have been exported to Middle Eastern countries since 1993, but in 2013 the falcon was named the national bird and export of the falcon was to be prohibited for five years. 

In 2013 30 falcons were exported, and 40 falcons were exported in 2014 for endowment and cultural exchanges.

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Mongolia govt allocated 164 million to preservation of mummified monk - Cabinet meeting resolutions in brief

April 29 (infomongolia.com) The regular Cabinet meeting of the Government was held on April 27, 2015, where the following resolutions were issued:

-       It was resolved to submit a draft bill on "Guidelines of Mongolia's National Economic and Social Development in 2016" to the State Great Khural (Parliament).

-       Minister of Finance J.Erdenebat was entrusted to allocate relevant fund from Government Reserve Fund for organizing the XIII Asian Youth Council General Assembly to take place in Ulaanbaatar on May 18-21, 2015.

-       Minister of Food and Agriculture R.Burmaa introduced current preparations for spring cultivation citing that this year is planned to harvest crop, potato and other vegetables at expected volume. Moreover, cultivation of fallow for next year will be modernized by stimulating the acclimatization of new technology.

-       It was agreed to allocate 164 million MNT (Tugrug) from Government Reserve Fund for recreational work, preserve and return the remarkably well-preserved mummy found in Ulaanbaatar in January 2015 to its original place at Sodnomdarjaa Mountain, which locates in the territory of current Tsakhir Sum of Arkhangai Aimag.

-       It was agreed to allocate 600 million MNT from Government Reserve Fund to purchase necessary equipment for combating and preventing wildfire nationwide.

-       Minister of Mining R.Jigjid delivered a report on current works of issuing special exploration licenses. As of today, 874 entities sent its applications, of which 817 domestic-invested companies, 45 firms are 100% foreign-invested and 12 joint invested companies. In the period between January 01 and April 24, 2015, it was collected and budgeted a total of 8,95 billion MNT from these special exploration licenses.

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Business

FRC Suspends Four NBFIs

May 1 (gogo.mn) During FRC meeting held yesterday discussions were made on the changes to the Regulations on NBFI activities prudential ratio criteria and is monitoring.

The changes are directed at penetrating international approach and standards at NBFIs in Mongolia and strengthen their capacities.

FRC has stated that further it will support micro-finance entities serving the poor part of the population, who are not eligible to receive financial services at the commercial banks.

FRC has suspended the licenses of the NBFIs which did not conduct any activities stated on their licenses. The NBFIs are Future Evolution LLC, UB Credit NBFI, San Credit NBFI and Fin Star Credit and Savings Union.

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King's Lynn firm secures first order in Mongolia

May 1 (Lynn News) Lynn's Omex Agrifluids made history this week when it sent off a lorry containing liquid fertiliser on a journey of more than 5,500 miles to Mongolia.

It's the first time the business based at Saddlebow Road has exported to the country and this is thanks to gaining a new customer, a gold mining company which is diversifying into agriculture (Mogi: Gatsuurt no doubt).

The journey to Ulan Bator, capital of Mongolia, has to be done by road so that the fertiliser can arrive in time for the growing season, explained Omex export director Peter Prentis.

He said: "If we had more time, it would go by boat but it would miss the season.

"They need to have the consignment by mid-May. In the future, orders will be delivered by boat.

"A transport company is organising the journey and drivers and arranging for the trucks to be swapped over.

"The customer who has placed the order with us is a new one and it shows that people are desperate for our products."

The consignment of 12,000 litres of liquid fertiliser, due to be used on crops such as wheat and vegetables, left Lynn on Tuesday.

The journey is expected to take around 18 days and the route will include extensive travel through Russia before reaching Ulan Bator, after around 5,550 miles.

Ulan Bator is located in north central Mongolia, and is the industrial, financial and cultural heart of the country, with a population of around 1.3 million.

Omex Agrifluids, which exports its specialist liquid fertilisers across the globe, won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in 2013 and last year was chosen as the Business of the Year in the Mayor's Business Awards.

Omex Agrifluids, which is purely an export arm of the Omex group, produces foliar fertilisers, which are applied to the leaves of plants to enhance their health and improve their resistance to disease.

The liquid products are exported from Lynn in a concentrate form and later diluted with water by the farmers and growers overseas.

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Nearly 330,000 hectares being cultivated nationwide

May 1 (news.mn) As reported by the Ministry of Agriculture this year, Mongolia will plant crops on 328,600 hectares nationwide.

Wheat will be planted on 300,000 hectares, potatoes at on 13,900 hectares, vegetables on 8,300 hectares, oil plants on 16,000 hectares, and fruit on 1,000 hectares.   

Preparation for planting wheat, oil plant, and fodder is taking place for 1,190 enterprises and residents of 14 provinces, and 370 enterprises are preparing for the planting of potatoes, vegetables, and fruit. 

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China-Mongolia border crossings closed May 1-3 on China Labor Day

April 30 (infomongolia.com) The China-Mongolia border crossing points will be closed on May 01-03, 2015 due to China Labor Day, a public holiday observed throughout the country.

There are currently seven official public holidays in China. Each year's holidays are announced about three weeks before the start of the year by the General Office of the State Council.

As of Mongolia, there are also seven official public holidays, namely:

January 1 - New Year's Day

First three days of the Lunar New Year or Tsagaan Sar

March 8 - International Women's Day

June 1 - Mothers' and Children's Day

July 11-15 - Naadam Holiday

First day of the first winter month by Lunar calendar - Chinggis Khaan's birthday

December 29 - Independence Day

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Mongolia seeks to boost tourism with Japan

April 29 (Mongolian Economy) Eighteen thousand Mongolians per year travel to Japan for private matters and the same number of people travel to Mongolia from Japan per year. According to the Ulaanbaatar City Tourism Department, 17 million Japanese tourists travel abroad each year, so they plan to implement a number of measures to increase the tourists coming from Japan, especially since they have direct flights to Mongolia and do not require a visa.

Ulaanbaatar will open a representative's office in Tokyo through the initiative and financing of Japan; will participate in the JATA International Tourism Exhibition 2015; and will receive a group consisting of more than 300 Japanese travel agencies. In addition, the city administration has agreed to cooperate with Tokyo city administration on the professional development of Mongolia's tourism industry.

The Mayor of Ulaanbaatar, E.Bat-Uul, and the Minister of the Environment, Green Development and Tourism, D.Oyunkhorol, finalised this agreement during their visit to Japan near the end of April. During the visit, they met with the chairperson of All Nippon Travel Agents and Chairman of the LDP's General Council, Toshihiro Nikai; chairman of the Japan Association of Travel Agents, Jungo Kikuma; Commissioner of the Japan Tourism Agency, Shigeto Kubo; and the President of the Japan National Tourism Organisation, Ryoichi Matsuyama.

The mayor and the minister also participated in the two countries tourism industry meeting organised by the Japanese Council of the Mongolian Tourism Association and gave a presentation about the Hospitable Ulaanbaatar program and the scope of its activities. In order to bolster the implementation of Hospitable Ulaanbaatar program, the 300 representatives of Japanese tourism industry will come to Mongolia during the "Danshig Naadam" Festival held on August 8 this year. As for the planned representative's office in Tokyo, it will operate as the Ulaanbaatar tourism representative's office.

Under the partnership of our two countries, Mongolia was invited to participate in JATA Tourism Expo Japan, one of the world's largest tourism trade shows held annually. Last year, the exhibition was held under the theme "The Power of Travel" with a total of 157,589 people and 1,129 tourism organisations from 151 countries participating in the expo. The key distinction of this expo over others is that it features Asian travel markets more than others. In addition, the event is organised by Japan, which means participants can get comprehensive information about the country's tourism market and have an opportunity to get acquainted with business partners. The JATA Tourism Expo 2015 will be held on September 24-27 in Tokyo.

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DAI's Jim Winkler Highlights Higher Education and Workforce Development at North America-Mongolia Business Council

April 21 (DAI) As the rising youth population in Mongolia comes of age, the American University of Mongolia (AUM) can prepare them to contribute to their country's economic development while helping businesses—fueled by mining-related growth—to meet their urgent need for a trained workforce.

In a speech April 21 to the 25th Anniversary Annual General Meeting of the North America-Mongolia Business CouncilJim Winkler, DAI senior trade and investment advisor and AUM board member, noted that the poorly trained workforce in Mongolia has created a significant barrier to economic growth and sustainable development.

"Business and government leaders in Mongolia are realizing that their employees need not only modern technical knowledge, but also the soft skills such as leadership, communications, critical thinking, and a commitment to excellence," Winkler said. "AUM will help strengthen the higher education sector in Mongolia by serving as a role model for quality education—in its administrative leadership, its faculty, its accreditation standards, its facilities design, and its degree programs."

DAI in 2013 became a founding partner of AUM.

Five U.S. ambassadors attended the meeting in Washington, D.C., including U.S. Ambassador to Mongolia Piper Campbell, as did Patrick Santillo, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for China, and Mongolian envoys from the United States and Canada.

In his speech titled "American University of Mongolia: Where Public Diplomacy Goals Meet Private Investment Interests in Economic Growth and Sustainable Development," Winkler said that American institutions of higher education, embedded in the local environment, are well positioned to demonstrate the best practices and policies of U.S. public diplomacy and embody the goal of sustainable development.

"By producing graduates who are prepared to face the economic and civil society changes about to take place in Mongolia, and by serving as a role model for quality higher education based on the best principles and practices of U.S. higher education, AUM will play a significant role in lowering the barriers to economic development in Mongolia," Winkler said.

In addition to helping launch AUM, DAI has advised the government on economic transition and finance and banking since 2003. DAI led the turnaround of the Agricultural State Bank of Vietnam—after privatization known as Khan Bank, now Mongolia's largest bank—from the verge of collapse under programs funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). DAI is currently implementing the SME Leasing Policy Initiative in Mongolia for the EBRD, and recently completed the Mongolia Value Chain Finance Project, also for the EBRD.

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Ulaanbaatar

UB Development Corporation to be established with the private sector

May 1 (news.mn) The 26th regular meeting of the Citizen's Representative Council has held today. A document on the strategy of economic development in Ulaanbaatar, and the establishment of a city development corporation and approval of its charter were discussed and approved during the meeting.

The Development Corporation of Ulaanbaatar Co., Ltd will be founded to implement projects and programs under the economic development strategy of the capital, in joint cooperation with the private sector; to elaborate on development trends in Ulaanbaatar through 2030; and to review the general plan for development in Ulaanbaatar though 2020, which was approved under parliamentary Resolution No.23 in 2013.    

In addition to its own revenue, Development Corporation of Ulaanbaatar Co., Ltd will contribute to the city's development fund through donations from foreign and domestic companies, investment loans, revenue from the trading of securities of the company in domestic and foreign markets, and through funds allocated from the state and capital budgets for investment in projects.      

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UB Mayor requests Korean collaboration in building bus factory

April 29 (infomongolia.com) On April 28, 2015, Governor of Capital City and Mayor of Ulaanbaatar, Mr. Erdene BAT-UUL received in his office the recently accredited Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Korea to Mongolia, Mr. Oh Song to exchange views of bilateral cooperation and further development issues.

During the meeting, Mayor E.Bat-Uul said, "Ulaanbaatar collaborates with Seoul in many fields and as a part of cooperations, UB's public transportation sector has been transferred into a smart service, which is starting from upcoming July 01. Also, a project on Ulaanbaatar Administration new building is undergoing by introducing Korea's top technology as well as we are willing to collaborate with South Korea in building a bus factory in Mongolia".

In turn, Ambassador Oh Song affirmed to support the Maoyr's inititaions and expressed his willingess to organize several measures to broaden and strengthen people-to-people friendly relations noting that this year Mongolia and the ROK are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties and 20th anniversary of the establishment of sister-city relations between Ulaanbaatar and Seoul.

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UB Mayor meets Chinese Ambassador of end of mission to MongoliaInfoMongolia, April 29

 

Ulaanbaatar Mayor visiting Rome May 5-6, to attend Mongolia-Italy business forum

April 30 (infomongolia.com) On May 05-06, 2015, the Governor of Capital City and Mayor of Ulaanbaatar, Mr. Erdene BAT-UUL will be paying an official visit to Italy upon an invitation of his counterpart the Mayor of Rome Mr. Ignazio Marino and expected to attend the Mongolia-Italy Business Forum.

However the visit's program is full of events, but Mayor E.Bat-Uul anticipates co-chairing the Business Forum organized by Italian-Mongolian Chamber of Commerce at the Hall of the Northern League and during the two-day visit several institutional meetings will be hosted involving the Mayors of the two capitals.

During the Forum, the Mayor to present to the institutions and Italian companies the latest opportunities and business proposals coming from the capital of Mongolia, where Director General for Political and Security Affairs (Political Director) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Luca Giansanti; Chief Staff of the Department of Culture, Rome Administration, Dr. Mario de Facqz; Head of International Promotion of Tourism. Dr. Patrizia Tanzi; Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to the Italian Republic, Mr. Shijeekhuu ODONBAATAR, and President of Italian-Mongolian Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Michele De Gasperis will be attending.

On the following day, May 06, the first official bilateral meeting between the UB Mayor E.Bat-Uul and the Mayor of Rome I.Marino will be held, and the meeting will officially inaugurate the institutional relations between the two cities, and provide an opportunity to discuss the future development of tourism and cultural programs that will involve the respective capitals and that will further strengthen the relations and cooperation between Italy and Mongolia.

Moreover, Mayor E.Bat-Uul is scheduled to meet the President of the Regional Council of Lazio, Mr. Daniele Leodori to discuss further collaboration opportunities and to note, the two countries are celebrating the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations in 2015.

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First Mayor of UB: I regret not having enough time to change people's mindset

By M.Zoljargal

May 3 (UB Post) Unuudur newspaper interviewed the first Mayor of Ulaanbaatar, Ts.Baasanjav, who was appointed shortly after the approval of the Constitution of Mongolia in 1992.

Ts.Baasanjav also worked as Chairman of Ulaanbaatar City Council for five years, from 1996 to 2000, which later earned him the title of Honored Resident of Ulaanbaatar. He highlighted that this title is very dear to him, as is the State Honor bestowed on him by the government.

What was it like administer the capital when Mongolia had just shifted to the free market economy? It must have been very busy with privatization of state properties. 

I was working as Deputy Chief of Infrastructure Affairs at the Capital City Administration until 1992 for two years. Then the new Constitution split the city administration into two parts – City Representatives' Council, a self-regulating organization on behalf of residents, and Mayor's Office, which executed works regulated by the state. When I was appointed the first Mayor of Ulaanbaatar, all the service businesses had been already privatized, but Ulaanbaatar was still financially unstable.

State-funded factories had to stop their operations due to budget shortage, which left thousands unemployed. The public transport system was poorly developed and residents had very little of their own. But city residents were very civilized, with good manners, back then. They stood in line to get into the bus and treated public spaces as their own homes. I think that in general, residents were less affected by the reform than those in provinces since the city followed separate structure, fixed business structure and plan.

Political institutions were very influential and residents respected them. The Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party, its eight commissions in particular, played a very important role in completing three general development plans of the city back then. Speaking of which, I want to emphasize how it is inappropriate to appoint heads of state-owned plants according to political requirements as is the way today. Political party commissions at the plants were disbanded after the shift in the 1990s. I am concerned that this practice might bring about many woes in society and give wrong perspectives to our next generations. 

How did your work as mayor start? What was your first plan and how did you picture your prospective works then? 

Providing apartment for each resident of  Ulaanbaatar was my number one objective. I do think this is the only priority that matches every other mayor's plan. When I resigned in 1996, 52.7 percent of the 860,000 residents of the city owned apartments. Now, more than 60 percent of the 1.2 million people in the city are living in ger districts. The project to distribute improved stoves and briquettes is useless. The city has to decrease apartment prices by taking care of infrastructure issues first so that more residents can move into apartments. As the state hasn't completed infrastructural development in the city, construction businesses are adding the cost of building infrastructure to their apartment prices. Of course developing the infrastructure will take extended amount of money and time, but I never wanted this city to flourish based on loans as it is the way today. The city did not have access to flexible loan conditions and opportunities back then and that is why I tried my best to maintain what the city had without ruining them. 

It seems that older generations always sought paths for solutions despite very limited possibilities in terms of finance. What do you think was your biggest achievement as mayor? 

Free market society is run by laws. I initiated and had the Capital City Legal Framework Law approved by Parliament to have a fixed legislation about how the city was to be regulated and what responsibilities and structural order the city had to fulfill and follow. Secondly, I worked to have the city's history written correctly. Appointing the city's symbol, flag and coat of arm was my initiative as well. This was not a small thing. This was the first step towards helping residents be proud of their city, and called on them to celebrate the city's anniversary and promote the city using the symbol, flag and coat of arm in foreign countries. The city marked its anniversary for the first time on its 355th anniversary. People seem to wonder whether the city's anniversary should be celebrated, but it shows years of work put into the city's development, and the anniversary should be celebrated even after we are no longer here. 

Do you have anything that you regret not completing when you were mayor?

The one thing that always was and is on my mind to this day is how to change the city residents' mindset and their behavior. When the city builds something nice for the public, the residents break them in a matter of few days. It was the most discouraging thing for me back then. How is the city supposed to develop if it is compelled to rebuild its works one after another. One thing that I get jealous when I travel to foreign countries is their well-mannered citizens who sincerely care for the places they live in. No matter how long, the city decorations and upgrade works stay the same without need of maintenance. This shows that it is time to implement a policy directed towards residents. But first, the city needs to form a very pleasant environment that residents will feel proud to live in. I don't understand soum mayors who plan to develop their soums when their residents are continuously leaving their homes and moving to the capital city. Soum residents are the ones that should be developing their birthplaces, not the mayors. Mayors should be focusing on following a policy that keeps their residents where they are by forming a favorable environment. 

How is Ulaanbaatar development  progressing in your opinion? 

People are the reflection of any society's development. But in the past 20 years, city development policies have forgotten residents' interests. They are mostly overstressed nowadays as the environment they live in Ulaanbaatar is not secure, safe or healthy. We should not expect residents to behave well in such a time. City development is not about building sky scrapers, but preventing overpopulation and securing ecological balance at the same time.

To be honest, Ulaanbaatar was operating for the past two decades only based on what previous mayors, administrations, state factories, businesses and professional organizations had built. No major upgrade has been completed at water supply plants and sources. No thermal power plant had its pipelines replaced in the past 25 years. Ulaanbaatar's central water pipelines and treatment plants have been built after relocating all the ger area households in the city for years before 1970s. Now, Tuul River bank is filled with constructions, while ger areas are expanding with a very disordered structure, which poses a major threat to the city's water distribution system.

When I gave my job to the next mayor, I told him, "I am giving you a city whose tap water is safe to drink." Water supply system had a very high quality back then. Unless the city adopts effective policies, Ulaanbaatar might go back to how it was before 1970s. If Ulaanbaatar was a person, he or she would be on the edge of heart attack right now. 

When do you think the city's policies became faulty? I suppose you and older generation administrations have been providing advices to your juniors. Didn't they listen to you? 

I gave enough advices, and consulted with my successor mayors. I talked and warned about the issues that could happen to the city during my speech at the 355th anniversary of the city. Now, those issues are already presenting itself. I talked about the issues many times in the media, but the new generations seemed unresponsive. They think our opinions our outdated, however we must talk about the past to find the best solutions for the future. When I and my peers were in our 20s, we felt proud of our seniors. They worked for more than 30 years in the state and received a month long paid vacation. We used to wonder, "When will we able to have our contributions recognized by the state and take long vacations."

Now, no one looks up to the elderly, but discriminates us. It was not our choice to be born early. I am very concerned about the youth's attitude towards their seniors. Everything we say does not have to be right, but the youth should listen to us and remember the important things. The study and work environment that you have was not available to us. However, we never stopped looking ahead, and continued to work and fight for our future, without smart phones and computers. 

Source: Unuudur

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Gigantic shoe in Mongolia produced with leathers of 225 cows attract people's attention

Ulan Bator, May 2 (CIHAN) Gigantic shoe, which was produces by using leathers of 225 cows, attract people attention in Mongolian capital city of Ulaanbaatar. 

Aiming to see the gigantic shoe, people are flocking to Tsonjin Boldog province located 50 km away from the capital Ulaanbaatar.

Not only local tourists, but also foreign tourists cannot hide their astonishment when they saw the shoe. Astonished people take souvenir near the shoe.

The shoe is estimated to be the world's biggest shoe ever produced, also managed to enter the Guinness World Records. 

Museum official gave some information to Cihan reporter relating with the gigantic shoe. According to the information given by the official that the height of the shoe is 9 meters and wideness is 6 meters. During the producing period at least 225 leathers of different cows and 300 liters of adhesive material are used. She also around 4500 meters rope is used during the production. Art students worked around 6 months to finalize the production of the astonishing shoe. 

Muse located endless steps of Mongolia also contain the statue of the Genghis Khan waiting their visitors. 

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Mongolia Opens NBA-Standard Basketball Palace in Khandgait

May 1 (gogo.mn) Mongolian basketball players have now provided with basketball hall which adheres to NBA standards.

National Basketball Palace named after famous member of the Fame of Hall D.Sodnomzundui is ready after two years of construction.

The complex includes gym for the basketballer to run preparations and comfortable hotel and is located in the Khandgait summer camp area.

Several years ago delegation of the International Medicine Institute visited the sites on Mongolia in order to determine the locations to establish the Sports Preparation for the Athletes and those locations were approved by the Government of Mongolia.

Out of 10 possible and suitable locations on Mongolia two were located nearby Ulaanbaatar city one is Khandgait and the other one is at Bagakhangai district.

New basketball hall has two gym halls and the hall to host National Super League games has the capacity of 2000 seats.

The hall features the floorings, basketball boards, point boards, screens, equipment and audio system are all compliant with the NBA standards. Flooring is assembled of 8 pieces with special shock absorbers and has 4 layers of padding.

Previously Mongolian basketball players were suffering from the injuries associated with the poor flooring, but from now on they are provided with safe and secure playing hall.

Basketball boards are all of Porter brand, which is used at games at NBA. THe complex will feature the Hall of Fame of the MBA.

Second gym hall has the capacity to host 400 viewers and has the complete equipment as well.

The two halls are connected by the hotel with capacity to host 80 persons, fitness, sauna, changing rooms and all the necessary amenities.

Outside one can spot quite big parking lot with capacity of 250 cars and a garage with the capacity of 100 cars.

Official opening of the complex is scheduled on May 11.

Due to the finals of the National Super League games the Central Sports Palace is lacking to host the viewers.

Therefore, the final games of the National Super League are scheduled to be conducted at the new sports complex in Khandgait ahead of its official opening ceremony.

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GoGo Presents Swimming Pools of UB

May 1 (gogo.mn) Everyone admits that UB city lacks entertainment places to spend one's free time. But we have compiled information of the swimming pools available around UB. Swimming is the fun pass-time along with its huge physical benefits for the human body.

Water Sports Training Center /Central Pool/

This center was established in 1986. It is equipped with capacities to hold swimming competitions with 240 viewer seats, three 3-5 meter jump platforms and can host 36-40 at once with 6 lanes for adults.

Pool dimensions: 25х16x5 m Depth: 1.7m-4.0m with 6 lanes
Fee: 1 time for 45 min – MNT 8,000, 90 min – MNT12,000, 1 month 2 time a week - MNT 80,000, 3 times a week - MNT 120,000.
Required lab tests: Tapeworm, venereal disease.
Address: Sukhbaatar District, 8th khoroo, Zaluuchuud Ave. Tel: 325386

Bayanzurkh District Water Sports Training Center

This center was established in September of 2012 has 4 instructors, 2 doctors and 1 chemist.

Pool dimensions: 25m х 7.8m Depth: 1.4m-1.9m with 3 lanes
Fee: 1hour - MNT10,000 , children - MNT7,000. 1 month for adults - MNT 90,000, children – 65,000. 1 hour, 3 times per week.
Required lab tests: Tapeworm, venereal disease, pneumonia and pap smear /females only/. 
Timetable:           Mon 07:00-18:00
                          Tue-Fri 07:00-20:00
                           Sat 09:00-20:00
                           Sun 09:00-18:00

Address: Bayanzurkh District, 6th khoroo, behind school No 21.
Tel: 7000-8006

Bayangol District Water Sports Training Center

This center has been established in March 2014. Has the capacity to serve 25-30 people at once with 2 lanes available.

Pool dimensions: 25m x 7.8m Depth: 2m with 2 lanes
Fee: 45 min - MNT8,000, 90 min - MNT15,000. Beginner courses per month for adult MNT 90,000, for children MNT 60,000. One hour, 3 times per week.
Required lab tests: Tapeworm, venereal disease, pneumonia and pap smear /females only/. 
Timetable: 09:00-21:00 /everyday/
Address: Bayangol District, 7th khoroo, Dilav Hutagt Jamsranjav Street, South of Trauma Center, west of school No78.
Tel: 7610 1000

Songinokhairkhan District Water Sports Training Center

This center has been established in January 2014.

Pool dimensions: 25m х 7.8m Dealth: 2m with 2 lanes
Fee: 45 min - MNT8,000, 90 min - MNT15,000, 1 month adult -MNT 90,000, children -MNT 60,000. One hour, 3 times per week.
Required lab tests: Tapeworm, venereal disease, pneumonia and pap smear /females only/. 
Timetable: 07:45-20:45 /everyday/
Address: Songinokhairkhan District, 17th khoroo, between apartment buildings 32 and 33.
Tel: 77171167

Orchlon Health Center

This center was established in 2004 and offers pool, fitness center and sauna.

Pool dimensions: 25m х 10m Dealth: 1.5m-1.7m with 3 lanes
Fee: 1 month - MNT 180,000. Two hours, 3 times per week.
Required lab tests: Tapeworm, venereal disease, pneumonia and pap smear /females only/. 
Timetable:            Mon-Thu 07:00-22:00
                             Fri 07:00-19:00
                             Sat-Sun 10:00-20:00
Address: Sukhbaatar District, 7th khoroo, Selbe town.
Tel: 354327

Aqua Water Sports Center

First aqua fitness center in Mongolia and is operating for its 10th year.

Pool dimensions: 8m round, Depth:1,2m
Fee: 1 time - MNT 15,000, children - MNT10,000, 1 month - MNT 162,000, children - MNT100,000. 1 hour, 3 times per week.
Required lab tests: Tapeworm, venereal disease, pneumonia and pap smear /females only/. Gyals Lab only.
Timetable:            Mon-Fri 07:00-20:00
                           Sat 11:00-18:00
                           Sun free time, Adults MNT 15,000, children MNT 10,000.
Address: Chinggis Hotel, 1st floor
Tel: 70000099, 99099789

New Century Plaza Sport Complex (NCP)

Located at the New Century Plaza and offers swimming pool, fitness center and gym.

Pool dimensions: 15m x 6m Dealth: 1.6m
Fee: 1 month - MNT180,000, children /10-17 age/ - MNT 140,000, younger children /3-9 age/ - MNT 100,000.
Required lab tests: Tapeworm /GrandMed/, venereal disease /Gyals Lab/, pap smear /Center for Infectious Disease/.
Timetable:            Mon, Thu 08:00-18:00
                           Tue-Fri 08:00-22:00
                           Sat 10:00-20:00
Address: Sukhbaatar DIstrict, 1st khoroo, Chinggis Ave-15, NEW CENTURY PLAZA.
Tel: 331110

Peace Complex

Pool dimensions: 18m x 9m Dealth: 1.71,-1.52 with 3 lanes
Fee: 1 hour – MNT10,000, children - MNT3000-7000
Required lab tests: Center has its own lab.
Timetable:           Mon-Tue non-working days
                          Wed-Fri 10:00-18:00
                          Sat-Sun 10:00-20:00
Address: Sukhbaatar DIstrict, 19th khoroo, Sainzai, Baga Bayan
Tel: 7010801

Bliss Fitness Club

Offers fitness center, sauna, spa, jakuzzi. Located in city center.

Pool dimensions: 20m x 6m Depth: 1.8m with 3 lanes
Fee: Sauna and pool MNT300,000. No limits everyday.
Timetable: 06.00-22.00 (Everyday)
Address: Blue Sky Tower, 3rd floor
Tel: 70100505

SS Club

"SS Club" offers pool with German standards.

Pool dimensions: 17m x 7.5m.  Depth: 1.4m, 1.6m, 1.8m with 3 lanes 
Fee: 1 time - 20,000 төг
Timetable:          Mon-Fri: 9:00-22:00
                          Sat- Sun: 10:00-20:00
Address: Near Orgil Sanctuary
Tel: 345664

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Diplomacy

Freedom Online Coalition Conference in Ulaanbaatar

By Julian Dierkes

May 1 (Mongolia Focus) Next week (May 4-5) the Mongolian government hosts the annual conference of the Freedom Online Coalition, a club of 26 countries dedicated to the promotion of, er, freedom online.

This is yet another success in Mongolia's foreign policy, leveraging its status as Asia's only post-state-socialist democracy to engage "third neighbours" and specifically to forge closer ties with tele-neighbourly democracies. Note, for example, that Mongolia's immediate neighbours, Russia and China, are unlikely to be seen anywhere near the notion of freedom online.

Previous examples of events/organizations that help Mongolia remain on the radar screen of powerful large democracies: Community of Democracies 2013, OSCE, next year's Asia Europe Meeting.

Freedom Online Ulaanbaatar

Motto: "Internet Policy Making – Best Practices for Promoting Online Freedom"

You can see how my interest in Digital Diplomacy coupled with my focus on Mongolia mean that I was eager to participate in this conference.

I feel quite fortunate that our proposal for a panel at the conference was accepted and am looking forward to participate in the conference together with UBC MAAPPS students Trevor KennedyMelanie Schweiger, and Christina Toepell. Our participation is possible through the financial support of the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development.

If you're curious about other sessions for the conference, please see the detailed program.

Here's our plan for our panel:

May 4, 14:15-15:30h: "Journalists' Liability Online and the Role of the Press"

Panelists:

·         Julian Dierkes, Trevor KennedyMelanie Schweiger, and Christina Toepell (Univ of British Columbia)

·         Lhagva E (Mongol TV, Media Council of Mongolia)

·         Pravin Chachavalpongpun (Kyoto Univ)

·         H.E. Kees van Baar (Human Rights Ambassador, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Netherlands)

Debates and opportunities to critically examine and discuss government policies are an essential feature of democracy. Cross-national evaluations of press freedom such as the Freedom House "Freedom of the Press" report try to measure legal protections for journalists' contributions to such debates.  In many countries, publishers are regulated as the legally liable entity regarding comments made by employees of these publishers. But in several countries across Asia, journalists are personally liable in libel accusations. In the last two years this liability seems to have been extended from traditional media to the online space, for example in societies with extensive state censorship of the media like China and Thailand, but also in FOC members like Mongolia.

While this seems merely an extension of practice from traditional media to social media, the threat of libel lawsuits may well curtail independent reporting, especially in countries where electronic media are a vibrant sector and essential part of public debates.  

The proposed panel will compare and contrast practices regarding the role of publishers in shielding journalists across different countries with contributions from scholars, analysts and journalists themselves.

The idea for this panel was rooted in a discussion at Freedom House late last year where SE Asia analysts pointed to the arrival of laws extending the personal liability of journalists to the online space starting with Thailand but the spreading to other SE Asian countries. Given my interest in Mongolia, this meshed with my in-passing knowledge of the prosecution of Ts. Bat for critical remarks he had made about then-Minister of Transport A Gansukh, see also #FreeBat. The personal liability of journalists has long been cited as an obstacle to the development of the media in Mongolia leading to self-censorship and a lack of investigative and critical journalism that is so needed to evaluate proposed policies.

The other angle on this topic is that a vibrant press is clearly seen as an essential element in democratization as the media can serve a critical role as the "Fourth Estate".

As we will discuss in the panel, even among FOC member countries there is a fair degree of variability in the extent to which journalists' writing is protected in traditional media as well as online.

I hope that there will be some discussion of these issues at the panel as well and that there will be lively discussion online using #FOC15.

I even have delusions of a self-made mini press conference using Periscope, but we'll see if that happens. If you're curious about that, please follow me at @jdierkes.

Link to post

 

ITPTA Chairman: "Banning of adult sites was not only our call"

May 1 (gogo.mn) "Freedom Online Coalition" the 5th Conference is going to be hosted in Mongolia between May 4th-5th.  Please tell me about participation of the ITPTA in the event.

The short and long term advancements of information technology are fundamental to the development of a nation, we would like to emphasise the importance of the 5th FOC Ministerial Conference being hosted in Mongolia and acknowledge that we are proud to be an official partner. 

At the conference, where representatives of 26 countries will participate, we aim to express the Mongolian people's stance on the subject of freedom of internet, the level of internet communication development in our country and the roles Mongolians play in the international internet market.

Would you please share your opinion about Freedom and Security of Individual and Intellectual Property in cyberspace?

In my opinion, the issue of intellectual property violation is the first of many problems we have in cyberspace. At present, there are far too many individuals and institutions suffering losses because of this unharnessed violation. It shows that decisive measures and legislative solutions to be implemented by the Intellectual Property Office are urgently required. Since in Mongolia protection of intellectual property online is a comparatively new concept, regulation of intellectual property or copyright laws may look sufficient enough to solve the issue. However this kind of solution is not sufficient in social media. For instance, let's say someone uploaded a movie in his or her website infringing copyright. In this case there is a law to penalise the uploader but no law to penalise the downloader or who shared the infringement material. This problem needs to be fixed at once. Apart from this issue, individual online freedom is well ensured in the Mongolian legal environment. In compliance with the resolution by the Communications Regulatory Commission, online statements for libel and defamatory purposes or statements which may have negative effects on one's social life, is shown in, or blocked by, star symbols (***).

What defines online human rights in your view? It has not been long since pornographic websites were banned in Mongolia for the so-called reason that online pornography has immoral and bad influences on children. But is the ban not a violation of human rights to access information freely?

Banning of these adult only sites is not only our call. We were frequently contacted by police departments advising that the sites were encouraging youth into criminal activity. Therefore the Communications Regulatory Commission passed a resolution to ban the sites with our assistance and participation. Actually we need to implement an international system called 'Child Code' in which access to pornographic sites are granted upon entry of a PIN code for registered users, to prevent children from being psychologically harmed by the adult videos. Having provided such preventative measures, adults are free to enjoy their rights to information. Of course, it is not our intention to keep the sites permanently banned. But it is plain to see that the sites should be closed for now until such preventative measures are introduced in Mongolian cyberspace. In the modern world, every nation's main focus is to build a clean internet environment free of negative impacts for the younger generation. The Mongolian government should follow this example and introduce policy regulation. Today, even small children are able to download videos and games on smart devices, PC's and laptops. So we as adults are required to pay special and constant attention to see if the games are appropriate for children's psychology. Since it is every parent's utmost wish to raise their children as citizens full of love, respect, responsibility and commitment to their parents and country, we have got to have concern for what our children are playing with. Also, it should be kept in mind whether or not the games designed and produced for children of totally different backgrounds are suitable for children in the opposite hemisphere.

But almost 70% of total websites in operation around the world are for adults. So is it such an effective measure to ban them in Mongolia?

I am confident that it is an effective measure for the sake of childrens upbringing and education. At present, most of the popular adult sites accessible in Mongolia are closed. There are a lot of users who are aware of only a handful of porn sites. So the chances that sites they know are included in the list of banned pornographic sites is very high. However, I do not deny the fact that they can find and visit any sites they like easily with the help of search engines like Google. But again I say that we had the preventive action of banning the sites with the sole intention of preventing the promotion of pornography, prostitution and criminal ideas amongst children and youth. I agree that as you have said, the ban is, to some extent, a violation of freedom of access to information. But those who oppose the ban should admit that the sites have a harmful impact on social psychology, especially on the community of youth. To pass the regulation to introduce the aforementioned preventive measures, we conducted related surveys. According to the survey, the risk of negative impacts on a population of 1 billion or 100 million or 60 million are relatively low, but are very high on a small population of 3 million.

A number of websites with intellectual rights infringements are still working on  different domain addresses. What actions do you take in this regard?  

We are taking triple action in this regard, to protect the interests and online products of those who are working in compliance with copyright laws, those who encourage companies that buy the products and those who restrict online illegal operation.

For example, if we successfully manage to deal with online piracy of foreign and domestic movies, the Mongolian online reputation will be highly evaluated on the international stage. But currently, Mongolian televisions are highly dependent on pirated products to fund their operation because they lack financial capacity to produce contents of their own.  We should start taking measures to stop it now. We should respect copyright and intellectual property right. And we should always remember that my rights are limited by your rights – I can move freely but I should not touch you.

Sometimes Mongolia is not included in the surveys conducted by UNESCO. Why do you think we are excluded from international research?

Recently, a few employees from ITPTA visited Kazakhstan and held a meeting with evaluation agency personnel from the UN. A student who studies in New York City majoring in information technology was invited to fill out a form/questionnaire. It is justifiable that since the student was not aware of activities by the Information Technology Authority, he chose to answer "Do not know". When the survey team contacted the Mongolian government for further information, they were advised that this information was confidential. As there is no access to online service by foreign agencies, the survey team were given the impression that there was no need to have Mongolia among the countries to be covered by the survey. Therefore we should study the techniques and methodologies used in international evaluation surveys in comparison with Mongolian laws and exchange opinions with representatives at the FOC Conference. Although there are no legal restrictions by the state on the use of Facebook, Twitter, Google, and YouTube in Mongolia, it is prohibited to use offensive slang, swears, insults etc.  But in countries where human rights are advocated, support on social media for any expression banned by the constitution (discrimination by race, religion, sex) is considered a penal offence. It is surprising that there is still no legal solution founded in Mongolia to regulate such online problems, even though Mongolian's use of the internet and social media has advanced greatly in a short space of time.

In the present world where the internet has become a necessary part of daily life, there is an urgent need to have regulatory policies to provide appropriate use of the internet. One of the policies should focus on the issue of children online. Some may ask what is wrong with children surfing on the internet. Are there any alarming consequences arising from internet use by children? Well, actually there is. It is even related to national security. Small countries (underdeveloped) like Mongolia must take extreme caution regarding the internet. We as a nation, with an extremely small population, should really have a policy to defend our vital national interests online such as language and culture in this period of globalisation supported by internet. Today, there is still no application for Mongolian language installed in iPhones due to our small population and small market size.

Although we use the internet freely, we fail to strengthen our internet freedom in areas outside of our power. We have submitted our requests to Google and Twitter to have Mongolian recognised as an official language in their programs. And as a chairman of the ITPTA and an individual who supports online freedom, I see the FOC Conference as golden opportunity to raise our request again. Right now we are all talking about CISCO. But first we should ask ourselves a question "What do they think of us?"

Today, people really should understand that "internet freedom" and "freedom to use the internet" are separate concepts. Over a year and a half ago, a very funny thing happened in Mongolian political life when a Member of Parliament initiated a law draft offering the use of the Latin alphabet for Mongolian language. The irony was that in his draft he, himself, did not even write the Latin alphabet correctly. Nowadays people use the English word "Hi" to greet one another. It may sound like no big deal or a kind of indication of globalisation, but actually it is the beginning of the collapse of the Mongolian language. Today it is commonly said that internet freedom is restricted in China. But it is not entirely true. Within the policy implemented by the Chinese government for economic and national interests, it is encouraged to support the domestic online industry instead of paying a huge sum for Facebook, Twitter, Google, Youtube etc.

You have said during an interview that you would never allow a fifth mobile phone operator as long as you were the Chairman. Please explain this. Everybody knows that competition is a key factor to reduce price and help consumers, is it not?

Well, we always tend to forget another factor called capacity. We Mongolians say "No need of 60 bulls for 100 cows". In Mongolia almost 4 million cell numbers have been sold meaning every consumer has cell phones from each operator. So here raises a health issue. Everybody knows there are health issues that follow mobile phones, laptops etc. But I know I should respect one's freedom to possession. Now I am going to explain another reason why I agreed to this rule. Investment is made when it is certain to make profits. Five operators for consumers of less than 3 million is quite a high number. It is the same as if everyone becomes a chef. But without a farmer, a herder or simply a supplier, the chef can cook nothing. So whilst I am the Chairman of ITPTA, no more mobile operators will be granted a license to operate.

Just two years ago, there was an incident where the General Police Authority was under cyber-attack. Has online information security in Mongolia been improved since then?

There is a special object containing classified data under the careful watch of the "Cyber Security Department" and the "National Data Center" which provides preventive and defensive measures for governmental organisations against cyber-attacks. As for the cyber-attack on the software of the General Police Authority, the police worked on the case and found out the cause. Irresponsible activities inside institutions are a common cause of cyber-attacks. The third world war has already started in the online world or cyber space. Therefore institutions must be extremely cautious and active regarding online security.

Please tell us about the latest news regarding ITPTA.    

When I started my career as the Chairman for the authority, I set seven strategic targets to achieve respecting the Big Dipper, seven stars of Mongolians worship. The targets are national satellite, effective service by state, high-speed local internet, intellectual jobs with high salary, e-products for international market and smart post. I am proud to say that we have achieved six targets, save the satellite. We have submitted our plan to the National Security Council and are waiting for their response.

Link to interview

 

Modi to kick off 3-nation tour from May 14 with China, Mongolia, South Korea

May 2 (Indian Express) Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be making a three-nation tour to China, Mongolia and South Korea from May 14 to 19, government sources said on Friday.

He will be in China from May 14 to 16, where he will visit Xian in Shaanxi province in north-western China.

The city of Xian is the hometown of the Chinese President Xi Jinping, and he wants to host Modi as a gesture to reciprocate the hospitality when he visited Ahmedabad.

He will then move to Beijing, where they will hold bilateral talks on issues of mutual interests such as addressing the trade deficit, among other issues.

And on the last day, he will go to Shanghai where he will address the Chinese youth — in a public event.

The Prime Minister, will then head towards Mongolia, where he will meet the country's senior leaders on May 17.

After Mongolia, the Prime Minister will go to South Korea and meet President Park Geun-hye. This will be his first trip to China as Prime Minister, although he has been in the country several times as the Gujarat chief minister.

Sources said the two sides will try to move forward on the economic cooperation front, as the leaders from the two countries meet.

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President Receives Chinese Ambassador on End of Mission to Mongolia

May 1 (news.mn) Today the President of Mongolia, Ts.Elbegdorj, received Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Mongolia from the People's Republic of China Wang Xiaolong, as he his diplomatic mission has ended.  

During the meeting with the Ambassador, President Ts.Elbegdorj stressed that there has been huge progress made during the Ambassador's four years in Mongolia. The President highlighted the success of the relationship between the two countries being moved forward twice in a relatively short period of time.    

Strategic partnership relations between Mongolia and China were established in 2011, and in the August 2014, during the official state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Mongolia, the two sides put forward a comprehensive strategic partnership relationship.  

The President noted that the official visit of the Chinese President to Mongolia was a historic visit, and during this visit, the two sides signed important documents which are crucial for the relationship of two countries and determine the directions of future cooperation.

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Polish Ambassador meets President Elbegdorj on end of diplomatic mission to Mongolia

May 1 (infomongolia.com) On April 30, 2015, President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj received in his office the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Poland to Mongolia Mr. Tadeush Homitsky on occasion of the end of his term of diplomatic mission in Mongolia.

President Ts.Elbegdorj emphasized that the relations between the two countries had a big achievement during the office of Mr. Tadeush Homitsky.

President also noted that Mongolia attaches a great importance to the relations with Poland regarding as our third neighbor in the European Union. He said that after becoming the full-fledged member of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Mongolia started more active cooperation with the European Union.

Concluding the meeting, President Ts.Elbegdorj said, "This year marks the 65th Anniversary of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and Poland. It also coincides with the 25th anniversary of the democratic changes and transition to a free society in Mongolia and the Republic of Poland".

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Mongolia commemorates 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations with six post-socialist countries

April 30 (infomongolia.com) On April 29, 2015, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia hosted a ceremonial reception on the occasion in commemorating the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and six states this year including the Republic of Poland (April 14, 1950), the Republic of Bulgaria (April 22, 1950), the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic (former Czechoslovakia signed on April 25, 1950), Hungary (April 28, 1950) and Romania (April 29, 1950).

At the event, the diplomatic corps, senior diplomats as well as representatives of organizations contributing to the development of relations and cooperation between Mongolia - Poland, Bulgaria, Czech, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania were present.

Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mongolia, Mr. Lundeg PUREVSUREN opened the ceremony and in his opening remarks emphasized, "Hundreds of Mongolian students obtained education at Universities and other higher institutions in Poland, Bulgaria, Czech, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania as considered Mongolia's old friends and these states have contributed immensely to the development and prosperity of Mongolia, where several dozens of factories and facilities were erected with technical assistance".

Concluding the speech Foreign Minister L.Purevsuren expressed with confidence that building on the 65-year-old solid foundation, we are able to further deepen and develop the relations and cooperation between our countries.

Mongolian People's Republic used to exist between 1924 and 1992, and after the breakdown of communist regimes in Europe in late 1989, Mongolia saw its own peaceful democratic revolution in early 1990, it led to a multi-party system; after a new Constitution of Mongolia was adopted on January 13, 1992, and dissolved the Mongolian People's Republic.

Mongolia and the Republic of Poland have established the diplomatic relations on April 14, 1950.

Mongolia and the Republic of Bulgaria on April 22, 1950.

Mongolia and Czechoslovakia on April 25, 1950, but following its peaceful dissolution into the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic on January 01, 1993 respectively.

Mongolia and Hungary on April 28, 1950.

Mongolia and Romania on April 29, 1950.

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Japan, S.Korea, Mongolia NGOs push for no-nukes zone to engage North Korea

NEW YORK, May 1 (Kyodo) – Nongovernmental organizations from Japan, South Korea and Mongolia called on governments in Northeast Asia and elsewhere to push for the creation of a nuclear-weapons-free zone during a gathering at U.N. Headquarters on Thursday.

In a joint statement, the NGOs and other organizations said the establishment of the zone, which would cover Japan, South Korea and North Korea, would be "effective" to "break through the severe situation in Northeast Asia and work for lasting peace in the region."

The event was held at a time when nations are gathering at the United Nations to review the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, a conference held every five years.

At the gathering, Akira Kawasaki from Tokyo-based NGO Peace Boat emphasized the importance of activating discussions on the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons in the region, given the increased global focus on the issue.

"Recognition of the humanitarian aspect of nuclear weapons has not prevailed in the very region that suffered from actual atomic bombings 70 years ago. Rather, national security and states' survival have been at the center of the nuclear debates in the region," Kawasaki said.

Mihyeon Lee, a South Korean-based NGO member, said the cooperation of countries around North Korea, including Japan and South Korea, that rely on U.S. nuclear weapons for protection, is essential to persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear ambitions.

"In return for the South and the North giving up nuclear umbrellas and nuclear weapons, Japan should also give up their nuclear umbrella, and nuclear powers including China, the U.S., and Russia should promise the exclusion of pre-emptive fire of nuclear attacks against each other and nuclear weaponry usage against non-nuclear power nations," she said.

An NGO member from Mongolia, a nonnuclear nation that enjoys diplomatic ties with North Korea, showed readiness to support efforts to create a regional nuclear-free zone.

At the beginning, Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue, who is visiting New York from Japan to attend an NPT review conference session, pointed to the continuing "tensions" due to North Korea's missile launches and nuclear tests, and expressed hope that civil society initiatives will "heighten momentum" for the creation of such a zone.

The gathering was also attended by government officials from five of the six countries involved in the six-party talks on North Korea's denuclearization, namely Japan, China, Russia, South Korea and the United States.

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Social, Environmental & Other

Dornod, Sukhbaatar wildfires extinguished, Khentii, Khuvsgul, Uvs remain

May 3 (UB Post) Since the beginning of this year, 60 soums in 15 provinces were hit by 116 wildfires. Fifty of the fires broke out in just three provinces in the eastern region of Mongolia, including Khentii, Sukhbaatar and Dornod.

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) reported on Friday that the wildfires that have been causing substantial damage to both the people and the environment were finally extinguished in Dornod and Sukhbaatar provinces at the end of last week.

Khentii Province's soums remain on fire now, while rescuers are working to put out fires in Khuvsgul and Uvs provinces, NEMA reported.

Dornod Province's Bayan-Uul soum, which had a non-stop wildfire for two weeks despite major efforts to combat it, reported that the fire has been completely extinguished there. Although the fire spread to Chuluunkhoroot soum in the province, rescuers managed to extinguish the fire within 24 hours.

In Sukhbaatar Province, 20 families lost their homes and several livestock died. Three people from one family suffered from burns and are now receiving treatment at the National Trauma and Orthopedic Research Center in Ulaanbaatar.

NEMA officials reported that the wildfire was very hard to put out as wind speeds were high in Sukhbaatar Province.

Cloud seeding used to fight wildfires

The National Agency for Meteorology, Hydrology and Environmental Monitoring has forecasted colder temperatures in upcoming days, followed by mixed snow and rain showers nationwide. Cloud seeding expeditions are currently underway in several soums in Tuv and Khentii provinces, where wildfires continue.

The focus areas of the provinces had rainfall with the help of the expeditions last week. Two expeditions are taking place in Khentii Province's Dadal and Norovlin soums.

City delegates trained to fight forest steppe fire

The Chinggeltei District Emergency Management Division (CDEMD) held a workshop for preventing and fighting forest steppe fires, with 185 officials from several city organizations attending last week.

The workshop involved practical demonstrations on how to limit the spread of a fire and how to put out a fire in the case of an emergency. The training took place at Maikhan Tolgoi summer camp site in Chinggeltei's 19th khoroo.

The organizers hope that the workshop will help city delegates spread information learned from the demonstration among their colleagues and that more people will be able assist rescuers in fire emergencies in the city.

The Ulaanbaatar Emergency Management Division and Environment and Green Development Authority each sent officials from two of their units. CDEMD sent officials from four of its divisions, the Chinggeltei District Mayor's Office sent officials from eight of its divisions, and Fire Department No.10 sent 82 of its firefighters.

Eight of the Chinggeltei District Red Cross Society's members, eight representatives from the Traffic Police Department's Law Enforcement Division, and five officials from the Law Enforcement University attended the workshop along with six horse patrols, 20 park rangers, and 38 residents of the district.

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44 gers granted to families who lost their homes in wildfire

April 30 (gogo.mn) The Government of Mongolia and National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) have taken immediate action over restoration and clearing the damage caused by fire at Dornod, Khentii and Sukhbaatar aimags.

44 households received comprehensive gers and nine UAZ-22069, UAZ-31512 cars dedicated to medical care and emergency agency were granted from the Government Reserve Fund.

Moreover, 730 tons of grass being stored at Government Reserve Fund centers and branches in Tumentsogt soum of Sukhbaatar aimag, Bulgan soum of Khovd aimag, Buren soum of Tuv aimag, Bulgan soum of Bulgan aimag will be provided for free to herders who lost their cattle at fire.

By the order of President of Mongolia, six non-equipped "BMP" infantry fighting vehicles were transferred into NEMA`s authority in order to prevent from forest fire and to make firebreak.

MNT 1.2 billion was required for those activities and the Government introduced the fund issue at the Cabinet meeting and it approved to grant from the Government Reserve Fund. 

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Livestock, not Tavan Tolgoi or Oyu Tolgoi, will save Mongolia

'Who isn't rich, but Mongolia, with its language, border and livestock.' Z.Dorj

May 3 (UB Post) The much anticipated Tavan Tolgoi agreement has finally been approved for discussion in the spring session of the parliament. At the opening of the session, Speaker of Parliament Z.Enkhbold called for the dismissal of ministers who would sign an agreement that threatens the interests of Mongolians. Following the speaker's statement, the draft of Tavan Tolgoi agreement pending approval for discussion was returned to the Cabinet once again.

The National Security Council's (NSC) three members discussed the draft again and returned it to Parliament. As it's been resubmitted following the NSC's discussion, the draft will definitely be discussed in a parliamentary session sometime this week.

It is, of course, right for Parliament to discuss an agreement which is directly connected to the economy of Mongolia. However, we face a time where we have to tackle other more pressing concerns.

Wildfires from Russia crossed the border and spread to Khentii and Dornod provinces on April 15. The wildfires are still not fully extinguished in the provinces today, despite the efforts of rescuers, emergency officials, border guards and volunteer residents who have joined the fight against the fire. They buried the wildfire with soil, which temporarily limits the spread of the flames.

One third of Dornod Province has burned in the wildfire, including Bayan-Uul soum with half of its territory affected by the fire. Over 1,600 livestock have died in the wildfires, according to Undesnii Shuudan newspaper sources.

This shows that more attention should be paid to the agricultural sector. It is time to slow down the heated discussions over mining and focus on benefits that can come from the agricultural sector in Mongolia. While those in power were making a big deal in Parliament about the supposedly beneficial major projects in mining, we are losing thousands of livestock – which have fed everyone in Mongolia for decades – to wildfires.

Natural disasters like wildfires can't be predicted, and that is the reason they are insurmountable. This is why Mongolia should be capitalizing on the raw material and products that can be made out of the livestock we have in the millions now rather than later.

Mongolians call five domesticated livestock (cattle, horse, sheep, goats and camels) the "Five Treasures". Livestock husbandry, its products in particular, is a vital part of agriculture in Mongolia. The Constitution of Mongolia states that livestock is a valued treasure of the nation and under state protection. This implies that no matter how mining booms in Mongolia, livestock husbandry will always be an inseparable part of Mongolian culture and daily life, as it always has been.

Mongolia's livestock count reached 52 million by the end of 2014, which was a 15.1 percent increase compared to the end of 2013, according to a national census. The official number will be updated once livestock have finished giving birth to their young this spring. Preliminary reports have confirmed that the number of young livestock born this spring will exceed last year's figures by 3.8 million.

What have the years of talk about how mining will develop Mongolia led us to? It definitely advanced Mongolia's economic growth at a certain point, but politicization and a fight for power among a few groups have been the main results of all the talk, just like how the Tavan Tolgoi agreement issue is being carried out right now.

Agriculture, on the other hand, is a totally different industry. Livestock husbandry, in particular, is Mongolia's "live" capital that will stay in the country. The amount of profit it generates depends on how we manage the sector. People are saying that an economic crisis has hit Mongolia, but we are still able to buy flour and meat for our dinners. Is it really a crisis?

We have 52 million livestock in our country, but we must make the best profit from each head of livestock to sustain the nation's wealth. By the end of last year, Mongolia counted 22 million goats, which produced 5,000 to 6,000 tons of cashmere per year. Unfortunately, only 20 percent of the cashmere was turned into end products for domestic and international markets, according to unofficial reports. The rest was imported to China as raw material, which clearly shows how Mongolia's agricultural industry is low in production. Cashmere is a highly demanded material, not only in China but in many other countries, for its quality. Producing more end products made of cashmere with value added tax will significantly benefit Mongolia and its agricultural sector's development. Exporting almost 80 percent of its semi-processed cashmere means that Mongolia is losing an immense amount of profit that could be invested in Mongolia. It shows that more attention should be paid to products made out of goats, rather than their numbers.

Mongolia is home to 3.4 million naturally-bred cattle whose meat is valued highly in the international market. Some beef will now be imported to Japan as part of an economic partnership between the two countries. But Japan has suggested strengthening inspection procedures at all stages leading to the production of meat products, including infection and food safety monitoring of grazing pastures and meat factories. Japan's Mongolian beef import issue raises the importance of closely studying the requirements of importers in advance. It is not news that importers will not be so interested in importing Mongolian beef, as foot and mouth disease breaks out from time to time and many cattle are vaccinated, and those that fall ill are culled. We face a challenge in producing high quality, safe meat before talking about export to different countries.

Protecting livestock from infectious diseases should be at the top of the nation's priorities, not mining projects. If we manage to keep the livestock healthy, not only Japan but many other countries will be willing to import meat and meat products from Mongolia, where the livestock is raised naturally. Won't that increase foreign exchange in Mongolia just as mining is expected to do?

The possible benefits of livestock have been lagging behind other industries while the state has been too focused on mining alone. It is time we should remember what famous writer Z.Dorj said, "Who isn't rich, but Mongolia, with its language, border, and livestock." If Mongolia can develop the industry to its best possible potential, not Tavan Tolgoi or Oyu Tolgoi but the "Five Treasures" will save Mongolia. What we need now is a proper policy to support the livestock industry. By the time we have developed the sector, Mongolia will no longer be required to amend its laws to attract investors and conclude agreements.

Source: Undesnii Shuudan

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ADB, Canada donate braille embosser to Mongolia

April 30 (gogo.mn) Today, ADB purchased triple-format braille embosser worth of USD 13,995 which renders text as tactile braille cells, by the donation of their staffs  with support from Canada Fund and installed it at braille publishing center.

Parents and teachers were provided with opportunity to monitor their children`s reading by using triple-format books as well as they will explain pictures to blind children in order to improve their perception.

Today, Mongolian National Federation of the Blind organized ceremony to receive braille embosser with attendance of Robert Schoellhammer, ADB`s Country Director of Mongolia and Eelco Jager, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Canada to Mongolia.

During the ceremony, triple-format textbook were granted to the secondary school children.

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IFRC East Asia Annual Report 2014

April 30 (International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies) --

Overview

The IFRC East Asia Regional Office (EARO) supports and builds capacities of National Societies (NSs) in the East Asia region. The region includes China, Mongolia, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the Republic of Korea, and Japan. The IFRC supports all five national Red Cross Societies in the region and additionally has long-term planning frameworks specifically for the NSs in China, Mongolia, and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

EARO continued supporting the National Societies in East Asia in increasing their capacity to deliver relevant and sustainable services to the communities, and was successful in reaching the objectives of its programmes. Due to shifting EANS priorities, some of the activities have been postponed for later. In East Asia region was struck by earthquakes, typhoons, volcanic eruption and other disasters. The EANSs, supported by IFRC, have effectively responded to the most serious of those disasters. EARO had

MONGOLIA

MRCS continued to receive technical and financial support from IFRC and other partners. IFRC has provided extensive support for the national convention of the MRCS, technical training related to financial development, HR development, organizational development and other aspects such as linking MRCS with the IFRC Asia Pacific Fundraisers' Network, safety and security, volunteer management etc.

A regional resilience workshop was organized by IFRC in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia in December. Workshop participants developed and endorsed an action plan for 2015. EANSS agreed to scale-up Community Resilience Programmes in their NSs and to mainstream them with on-going projects/programmes.

Link to download page

 

Khartsaga crowned National Basketball League Champions

May 3 (UB Post) The last matches of the National Basketball League Championship 2015 took place on Saturday, where Dundgovi Alliance Tech Khartsaga team claimed victory.

Khartsaga topped the league with four wins and two defeats, which brought them the championship title and a 40 million MNT cash prize.

Dornod Tanan Garid team won silver medals, as well as a 20 million MNT cash prize. The bronze medalist, Khasiin Khuleguud team, won 10 million MNT.

Erdene Drilling team was close to winning the bronze medal with its successful plays, but lost to Khasiin Khuleguud on Saturday.

The final rounds proceeded at the newly opened D.Sodnomzundui Basketball Palace in Khandgait.

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East Asian Men's Volleyball Championship to be held in Mongolia May 10-16

April 30 (gogo.mn) Eastern Asian Men`s Volleyball Championship is to be hosted in Ulaanbaatar city at Buyant Ukhaa Sports Palace from May 10-16.

Eastern Asian Men`s Volleyball Championships have been organized since 1998 and it has being organized in Mongolia for its third time. 

It was organized in 2000 and 2008 in Mongolia and Mongolian Women`s National Team won silver medal in 2000 and won bronze medal in 2008. Mongolian Men`s National Team have not awarded with any medal yet.

Eastern Asian Volleyball Association decided to organize the Championships separately by male and female categories.

Tomorrow, Asian Volleyball Confederation will officially announce the lottery result at 11AM at Conference Hall of Mongolian National Olympic Committee.

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State Opera House May Program

April 29 (infomongolia.com) Mongolian State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet (SATOB) releases the 2015 May Program premiering the "Livietta e Tracollo" opera buffa by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi in the scope of celebrating the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and the Italian Republic in 2015.

Also, the May Program includes a "Victory Day" concert dedicated to the 70th Anniversary of the capitulation of Nazi Germany in 1945.

SATOB 2015 May Program

May 01, Friday 07:00pm - "Livietta e Traccolo" Opera by G.B.Pergolesi

May 02, Saturday 05:00pm - "Livietta e Traccolo" Opera by G.B.Pergolesi

May 03, Sunday 05:00pm - "Victory Day" Concert

May 09, Saturday 05:00pm - "Carmen" Opera by G.Bizet

May 10, Sunday 05:00pm - "Don Quixote" Ballet by L.Minkus

May 16, Saturday 05:00pm - "Carmen" Opera by G.Bizet

May 17, Sunday 05:00pm - "Shariljin Dundakh Tsetseg" (Flowers in the Hogweed) Ballet by E.Choidog

May 23, Sunday 05:00pm - "Il Trovatore" Opera by G.Verdi

May 24, Saturday 05:00pm - "Il Trovatore" Opera by G.Verdi

May 30, Sunday 05:00pm - "Il Trovatore" Opera by G.Verdi

May 31, Saturday 05:00pm - "Sleeping Beauty" Ballet by P.I.Tchaikovsky

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Famed composer Jantsannorov to stage one-time only concert on May 7

April 29 (gogo.mn) Mongolian State Honored Composer, Doctor and Professor of Philosophy in Art Studies, N.Jantsannorov best known for composing the scores of many of Mongolian films will hold a concert after almost two decades.

The concert will take place at the Central Cultural Palace on May 7 for only one time.

He posted to his facebook: "I held concert in 1993 and after 22 years I am going to perform again. The reason of performing after 22 years is I have aimed to show 22 years of development and history of my best music including how modern singers have inherited songs from old singers and how my music preserved through the generations as well as to show skills improvement of singers and musicians.

I want to express my gratitude to Mongolian National Song and Dance Ensemble Orchestra, Morin Khuur Ensemble, Music and Dance College Orchestra, singers, musicians, conductors, organizers, sponsors and all people who are supporting me."

You are able to buy concert ticket from www.ticket.mn.

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Mongolia's Khusugtun advances to Final Round of Asia's Got Talent

May 1 (infomongolia.com) The "Asia's Got Talent" public voting for Finalists of the Round 2 was announced at 09:05 pm (Singapore Time +08:00) on April 30th, where only 3 competitors out of 8 semifinalists should advance to the Grand Final and Mongolia's Khusugtun Ethnic Ballad Group made it!

The public vote of the Round 2 via SMS, Facebook or App Voting was conducted on April 23-27, 2015, where only Gerphil Geraldine Flores, singer/soprano (Philippines) and the Khusugtun, musical ensemble (Mongolia) were selected to become ones of 9 finalists, congratulations!

To recall, the "Asia's Got Talent" format was first auditioned over 600 performances from 14 countries, of which 24 acts were selected in the semifinals and divided in three groups as Round 1-3.

Semifinalists in the Round 1 are: Gwyneth Dorado, singer/acoustic guitarist (Philippines), Triqstar, neo-traditional dance troupe (Japan), who were selected via public votes and the third semifinalist Gao Lin and Liu Xin, dancers/acrobats (China) were advanced as Golden Buzzer as an automatic finalist.

Semifinalists in the Round 2 are: Gerphil Geraldine Flores, singer/soprano (Philippines) and the Khusugtun, musical ensemble (Mongolia), who were also selected via public votes, and the third semifinalist Junior New, multi-genre dance act (Philippines) was advanced as Golden Buzzer.

Semifinalists in the Round 3 are currently being voted, except for El Gamma Penumbra, shadow play group (Philippines), who has already advanced to the Finals as Golden Buzzer and two semifinalists out of the rest 7 (Dance Thrilogy - Singapore, Sada Borneo - Malaysia, AltType - Japan, The Talento - Thailand, Toshanbor Singh Nongbet - India, and Billy Chang - Taiwan) will be declared via public vote on May 04, 2015.

Consequently, as soon as 3 semifinalists of the Round 3 are chosen, the 9 finalists will be competing for the Asia's next superstar on May 07-11, 2015 and if you do like Ethnic Ballad of Mongolia, vote for Khusugtun, AGT12.

Here is below, a link of backstage video interview of Khusugtun after performing their second unique music composition namely "Tes Golyn Magtaal" (The Praising Song for Tes River).

Mongolia's Khusugtun advances to the Grand Final, 2015 Asia's Got Talent

For more info please visit: asiasgottalent.tv

Link to article

Related:

Khusugtun makes Top 9 of Asia's Got TalentUB Post, May 3

 

The migration of the eagle hunters

Crossing frozen lakes and mountain passes, the nomadic Kazakhs of western Mongolia make an epic journey with their livestock every spring - Timothy Allen joined Shohan's family in February.

Link to photo essay

 

EVENT: WWU hosts 'Mongolia Days' events May 5-6

May 3 (The Bellingham Herald) Western Washington University hosts a two-day celebration of Mongolia during its "Mongolia Days," Tuesday and Wednesday, May 5-6, on Western's campus, sponsored by Western Libraries, Woodring College of Education, the Center for East Asian Studies, and the Center for International Studies.

At 7 p.m. Tuesday, Charles Krusekopf, executive director of the American Center for Mongolian Studies and director and associate professor of the Royal Roads University School of Business in Victoria, B. C. gives a talk in Wilson Library Presentation Room on "Natural Resource Development in Mongolia: The Impacts on Culture, Environment, and Government."

At 5 p.m. Wednesday in Western's Old Main Theatre, the "Mongolian Celebration" will feature opening remarks by Acting Consul General Dorj Bayarkhuu, the Mongolian Consulate of San Francisco; and performances by Mongolian musicians Adilbish Badmaanyambuu and Bold Chimedregzen.

The celebration concludes at 7 p.m. with a special screening of "Remote Control," a film about a runaway living on a roof in Ulaanbataar who finds a lonely woman and embarks on a mission to intertwine their fate. All events are free.

Western's commitment to Mongolian Studies education is exemplified by the Mongolia Collection at Western Libraries, Western's partnerships with Mongolian universities, and Western's community connections. Details: 360-650-3051, Connie.Mallison@wwu.edu.

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Talk with Me: Melanie Kocke, Co-Host, "2 Moms, 10 Kids"

April 20 (Star TV Mongolia) --

Link to video

 

Talk with Me: MP Oyungerel Tsedevdamba

April 29 (Star TV Mongolia) --

Link to video

 

PHOTO: Birdwatching Season Begins in Mongolia

By L. Jargalsaikhan

May 1 (gogo.mn) First of the migrating birds have already arrived at lakes in Mongolia. Many can observe how those would relax from the long travel and flight. This time of the year is the most appropirate for bird viewers to observe how bird would pick up their couple, build their nests, lay their eggs and teach their chicks to fly. Let me introduce of the species of migrating birds that come to Mongolia. 

Goosander (Mergus merganser) is a large duck of rivers and lakes in forested areas of Europe, northern and central Asia, and North America. It eats fish and nests in holes in trees. It is 58–72 cm (23–28 in) long with a 78–97 cm (31–38 in) wingspan and a weight of 0.9–2.1 kg (2.0–4.6 lb).

Adult males in breeding plumage are easily distinguished, the body white with a variable salmon-pink tinge, the head black with an iridescent green gloss, the rump and tail grey, and the wings largely white on the inner half, black on the outer half. Females are largely grey, with a reddish-brown head, white chin, and white secondary feathers on the wing. Like the other mergansers, these fish-feeding ducks have serrated edges to their bills to help them grip their prey; they are therefore often known as "sawbills". In addition to fish, they take a wide range of other aquatic prey, such as molluscs, crustaceans, worms, insect larvae, and amphibians; more rarely, small mammals and birds may be taken.

I have seen groups of Goosanders to float on Tuul and Kherlen rivers and catching their prey in water.

During their breeding period birds would roam in pairs, not in large groups. Although they would have picked their couple long before coming here many would still fight for the attention of female species with their dance. I had a chance to observe the pair of Goosander nearby Tuul river to the west of the city.

At spring the males will shine and add their attractiveness, which helps them to catch the attention of the female. Goosanders usually come back by the time when the ice breaks on the lakes and rivers. This male is trying to catch the attention by showing off his white chest and bright red wings, but with little success as the nearby female is not paying much attention.

He would float around the female then stands afloat to show off his wingspan and hunterlike pose. Usually this act might be similar with drying of the wings after diving, but this time it conveyed completely different feel to it.

One of the definitive acts for Goosander is to point to the sky with its beak and stand still. Moreover, the male would play around by swimming across the water, while it was comparatively silent. But the female was still not paying much attention.

Without seeming success the male would go to the shore and dry himself one female would approach him from the back. It was as though he was mesmerized with her beauty and would show off his strong chest. Both would clean themselves.

But suddenly another male would approach the two and come out at the nearby ice. Another gorgeous male with attractive features.

The male on the shore as if though was bothered with other would quickly approach other male to attack him.

Though not very noisy, it attacked with splash. One female would follow them, but then will just float away as if though saying "oh those boys, always foolish".

The competitor would leave the scene realizing his weakness. Few days later those to males would lay together as friends. It was implying that they would fight only for attention of the female, but will remain friends.

On the other hand, the winning male was playing with his lady proudly. Female was touching the male on the neck as if though trying to say that the choice has already been made. Soon enough those two would build their nest and lay their eggs.

Link to article

 

Could a Mongolian mask maker's quest to see the Dalai Lama bring about world peace?

By Andrea Sachs, travel writer for The Washington Post. 

April 30 (The Washington Post) Gankhuyag "Ganna" Natsag's journey, or at least one leg of it, started after midnight in New Delhi. Under a dark December sky, the Mongolian American artist boarded a minibus with six other passengers and several large boxes. The one labeled "fragile" contained the culmination of his life's work.

The entourage traveled through the night, 330 miles north to Dharamsala, the Indian city that bows at the knees of the Himalayas. During the 12-hour drive, Ganna, his wife and their friends chatted and sang Mongolian songs. They made frequent stops to eat chicken curry and garlic naan and stretch their limbs before the next long bout of sitting. They shook off sleep to keep an eye on the driver, who had to navigate corkscrew mountain roads.

At several points along the route, they spotted military forces crouched in position, their guns fixed at passing vehicles. But Ganna was not alarmed. He knew the guns were helping to protect the border against the peevish neighbors to the east and west, China and Pakistan.

The group coasted into McLeod Ganj, a suburb of Dharamsala, before noon. A few streets shy of their hotel, they were approached by security guards wielding weapons. The guards informed them that they could not proceed in their unlicensed transport. So Ganna and his group split up into two rental cars for the short ride up the hill.

After checking in, Ganna craved rest. But the Arlington resident first needed to prepare for the one man who could bless his endeavor into being.

In 48 hours, Ganna was going to meet with the Dalai Lama.

"I'm ready to talk about peace in the world," said Ganna.

"I want to build a physical World Peace Pagoda in Mongolia, because if we have inner peace, we have world peace."

In Ganna's dream sequence, the global peace leader would endorse his project with a blessing, a signature or even a tweet on his @DalaiLama Twitter account. Approval of the Mongolia complex would also boost Ganna's expansion plan to build a second, smaller version in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley . The franchising of peace.

In his ninth-floor apartment in Arlington, Ganna sits at his computer while dumplings warm in the oven. He clicks open a photo compilation called "My Life Through Peaceful Art," a pictorial recording of his personal history. He pulls up the first image, a black-and-white portrait of his family. He is the little guy with pillowy cheeks cradled on his mother's lap.

Ganna was the fourth child born to a seamstress mother, Khand Sham, and an engineer father, Ganna Baasan. Six more kids followed. The family lived in a one-room, three-bed ger (a Mongolian yurt) in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. He slept under a sister and brother on a platform that folded out like a trundle bed.

At home, his mother sewed dresses for a factory and traditional ensembles on the side. The kids learned the trade and pitched in. His father was also handy with needle and thread and would often assemble hats, bags and belts out of leather and fur.

"What I learned from my mother — to sew," Ganna says, "this gave me food."

In 1972, adversity struck. Ganna, who was 11 at the time, remembers running down a starlit street to the fire station, where he asked to use the phone to call for help. His father was ill and needed medical attention. A day later, he passed away. Ganna's mother was now the sole provider for the brood, who ranged in age from 2 to 20.

"Our number one need was food," he says, "and number two was warmth. Number three was clothes, but we didn't worry about clothes because we sewed all of our costumes."

Ganna's photo timeline jumps over these years. There are no Nikon moments of the family gathered around the wood-burning stove cutting cloth. No images of Ganna as a teenager designing jackets and selling them in the city market to make extra money. None of the clan as a whole unit again.

Between secondary school and his mandatory three-year military service, Ganna worked as an assistant artist with the Mongolian National Artists Union, designing souvenirs in the socialist government's fine arts factory. He painted faces on wooden dolls and created twee costumes for the figures sold in the state-run stores.

The pictures start up again when he is 18 and in the Mongolian army. He is the lanky guy with the shaggy bowl cut and tranquil expression.

In the army, only his uniform changed; his artistic pursuits remained. As a soldier, his days often revolved around playing chess with the officers, decorating their workspaces with murals, sewing uniforms and painting portraits of his superiors.

The world outside was bracing against the Cold War. When he returned to civilian life and art school, he had peace on his mind. In 1985, he submitted a papier-mâché globe covered in painted antiwar images to an international peace competition. He beat out artists from 160 nations and won a trip to the Soviet Union.

His first foray out of Mongolia was to the country that had quashed his culture's main belief system. In the 1930s, Russian troops destroyed more than 800 Buddhist temples, murdered thousands of monks and melted down countless religious statues. Buddhists went into hiding.

"For 70 years, we had no religion because of the socialist system," he says.

"We couldn't put a Buddha in the home because someone might call the police. But everybody inside was Buddhist."

At the Dalai Lama's temple, about 4,000 practitioners were attending the teachings, including 600 Mongolians who occupied prime real estate in the prayer hall: the seating area surrounding the holy leader's inner sanctum. People came early to secure their spots. They threw down thin mats, blankets and cushions, an Eastern version of the resort pool scene. Nearby, monkeys and dogs antagonized one another.

Link to full article

 

Living off the grid in a Mongolian yurt on abandoned Chicago land

April 28 (Chicago Reader) "I don't believe in paying rent," says Kara W, sitting by the fire of the wood-burning stove in her Mongolian-style yurt, a portable domed tent traditionally used by nomadic people of central Asia. ("Kara W" is the 25-year-old's full chosen name.) "I like living outside and being connected to the earth, and still living in the city."

The yurt is cozy with hanging lanterns, a futon bed, a kitchen with a propane stove, and a pantry made from milk crates. The walls are decorated with a Free Trade Area of the Americas poster by the Beehive Design Collective and a painting of geese done by Kara's mother. Kara painted a mural on her door of things representing the letter W: a wolf in the woods in winter, a whale in the water, the W-shaped constellation Cassiopeia—plus the psychedelic mushrooms that inspired the painting. There is no electricity, no running water, no Wi-Fi. To get to her unorthodox pad, Kara dips through a hole in a fence and weaves in and out of tall grass covering a piece of abandoned land. Kara built the yurt with her own two hands, but technically she's squatting.

Kara chose the yurt's Mongolian design for its practicality and mobility. "The whole thing folds up and you can carry it on two camels," she says. "Or three trips in a van and all my friends carrying it is how it got [here]." The rafters, made from bamboo growing in her parents' yard, converge at the roof ring, a circular hole in the center of the dome that accommodates a smoke pipe and also lets in sunlight, which moves clockwise through the home over the course of the day. ("Traditionally, you're supposed to walk in a yurt clockwise," she says. "You in the yurt is like the sun in the world.") She cut down two trees and used their thin trunks as the center support posts. Kara explains their significance in traditional yurt design as "the world tree" holding up the heavens. The latticed walls are built to retract and collapse for easy transport. She constructed the covering with pillows of stuffed straw to provide insulation, though her eco-friendly intention has proven to be her one regret about the yurt: "I so wish I had made it out of pink insulation rather than straw," she says. "Mice love to live in straw."

Link to article (includes video)

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