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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

[TRQ posts profit; AKM secures rail customer; Wood resigns from WOF; MIAT opts to lease; and Speaker visits Japan]

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

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

Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original

 

HEADLINES

Int'l Market

·         Turquoise Hill posts 4Q profit

·         Turquoise Hill announces financial results and review of operations for 2016

·         Northern Railways Signs MOU to Provide 5 Mtpa of Freight Capacity on Erdenet to Ovoot Railway

·         Wolf Petroleum: Matthew Wood resigns as non-executive director

Local Market

·         MSE Weekly Report: Top 20 -3.16%, ALL -4.44%, Turnover ₮248.1M Shares, ₮1.9B T-Bills, ₮12.8B Issued

·         MSE Trading Report, March 27: Top 20 -1.02%, ALL -0.68%, Turnover ₮47.1M Shares, ₮1.6B T-Bills

·         AML/CFT working group of Mongolia holds regular meeting

Economy

·         MNT gains for 2nd day against USD; USD/MNT down ₮0.33 Monday to ₮2,458.85

·         BoM issues ₮588 billion 1-week bills, total outstanding +21.4% to ₮1.18 trillion

·         Food prices up sharply in March

·         Overview: 2017 Budget Amendment Bill

Politics & Legal

·         Defacto Review, March 26: New budget, judicial independence, air pollution plan, astronaut anniversary

·         NGOs vow to fight for rights of child jockeys harmed during spring races

·         Mongolia PM concludes working visits to western provinces

·         President addresses 12th MONFEMNET meeting on gender equality

·         We sat down with the governor of Umnugobi Province, N.Naranbaatar

·         Voice of Mongolia Audio News for March 27

·         New issue of Mongolia Today magazine is out

·         AmCham Daily Newswire for March 27, 2017

Business

·         Mongolian Mining Journal: 100 issues of togetherness in development

·         Mongolia converts two Boeing 737 purchase orders to leasing

·         EBRD: Sainshand Wind Park Project Passes Concept Review, Pending Final Review

·         Annual Technology & Investment to Mongolia conference and exhibition to be held in April

·         9 days left for "Mongolia Mining 2017" expo

·         Hogan Lovells hosts training for women leaders on Executive Presence

·         How To Create A Retail Company With A Great Future

·         Time Travel Turtle: Gobi Cashmere factory in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Ulaanbaatar

·         Ulaanbaatar public transport to serve only with smart bus cards from April

Diplomacy

·         Chairman of Mongolian Parliament M.Enkhbold leaves for Japan and Bangladesh

·         Joint survey starts on China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor

·         EU works with Mongolia on strengthening political and economic links

·         Embassy in Paris holds book launch meeting for Mongolian author

·         Peacekeeping Leaders Address Shared Challenges

Health & Education

·         Mongolia to Adopt South Korean Approach to Treatment of Stomach Cancer

·         UB Health Department to cooperate with Medical University Nursing School

·         Health Minister meets JICA Senior Advisor on joint projects

·         Exploring space science with Mongolia's first astronaut J. Gurragchaa

Culture & Society

·         Location of Chinggis Khaan's military stronghold Chinhai discovered

·         Nomadic ger innovated as puzzle game, seeking crowdfunding

·         Sanity Sunday- Music from Mongolia

·         Growing up in Mongolia

Nature & Environment

·         Mongolia government to intensify wildfire prevention measures

Sports

·         D. Zagdsuren reelected as President of Mongolian National Olympic Committee

·         Mongolia wins four bronze medals at Sambo World Cup 2017

·         Opening ceremony held for 4th Universiade

Art & Entertainment

·         Citizen Kane and The Eagle Huntress in Oshawa, Ajax

Travel

·         Russian government advises its citizens not to shout loudly and get drunk in Mongolia

 

 

ARTICLES

Int'l Market

Announcement made after Monday close. TRQ closed +0.99% Monday at US$3.06

Turquoise Hill posts 4Q profit

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, March 27 (AP) Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. (TRQ) on Monday reported fourth-quarter earnings of $93.3 million.

The Vancouver, British Columbia-based company said it had profit of 5 cents per share.

The metal and coal mining company posted revenue of $224.6 million in the period.

For the year, the company reported profit of $210.6 million, or 10 cents per share. Revenue was reported as $1.2 billion.

In the final minutes of trading on Monday, the company's shares hit $3.06. A year ago, they were trading at $2.58.

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Turquoise Hill announces financial results and review of operations for 2016

VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwired - March 27, 2017) - Turquoise Hill Resources today announced its financial results for the year ended December 31, 2016. All figures are in U.S. dollars unless otherwise stated.

HIGHLIGHTS

Full year 2016

·         Oyu Tolgoi achieved an industry-leading safety performance with an All Injury Frequency Rate of 0.22 per 200,000 hours worked for the year ended December 31, 2016.

·         On May 5, 2016, Oyu Tolgoi received the formal notice to proceed for underground development by the boards of Turquoise Hill, Rio Tinto and Oyu Tolgoi LLC.

·         On October 21, 2016, Turquoise Hill filed the updated Oyu Tolgoi Technical Report.

·         At the end of 2016, 1.6 equivalent kilometres of underground lateral development had been completed for the year.

·         In 2016, progress was made on the sinking of Shafts 2 and 5 with final depth for both shafts expected to be reached in 2017.

·         During 2016, the bulk excavation component of the convey-to-surface system was completed, followed by the commencement of the decline tunnel work in January 2017.

·         Oyu Tolgoi recorded revenue of $1.2 billion in 2016 on record concentrate sales of 828,600 tonnes.

·         For 2016, the Company recorded net income from continuing operations attributable to owners of Turquoise Hill of $210.6 million.

·         Turquoise Hill generated operating cash flow before interest and taxes of $399.2 million in 2016.

·         For 2016, Oyu Tolgoi's cost of sales was $2.07 per pound of copper sold, C1 cash costs were $1.02 per pound of copper produced and all-in sustaining costs were $1.48 per pound of copper produced.(1)

·         Operating cash costs(1) of $775.3 million in 2016 was below the Company's guidance.

·         Turquoise Hill's cash and cash equivalents at December 31, 2016 were approximately $1.4 billion.

·         In June 2016, Oyu Tolgoi drew down approximately $4.3 billion of the project finance facility and used all net proceeds to pay down shareholder loans payable by Oyu Tolgoi to Turquoise Hill.

·         Oyu Tolgoi operated at record levels for material mined and ore treated; concentrator throughput exceeded nameplate capacity by year end.

·         Copper production of 201,300 tonnes and gold production of 300,000 ounces exceeded the Company's guidance.

·         Compared to 2015 results, material mined for 2016 increased 5.6%, concentrator throughput increased 10.5%, copper production was similar and, as expected, gold production decreased 54.1%.

Disposal of SouthGobi Resources shares

On September 22, 2016, the Company announced it had disposed of 375,000 common shares of SouthGobi Resources Ltd. (SouthGobi) and beneficially owned or controlled less than 10% of SouthGobi's issued and outstanding common shares. On October 12, 2016, the Company completed the sale of its remaining stake in SouthGobi.

Link to release

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AKM closed +20% Monday on the announcement to +20%

Northern Railways Signs MOU to Provide 5 Mtpa of Freight Capacity on Erdenet to Ovoot Railway

      Northern Railways has signed an MOU with the 100% owner of the Huren Chuulut Iron Ore Project to access the Erdenet to Ovoot Railway.

      Huren Chuulut development plan calls for production of 5 mtpa of magnetite concentrate.

      MOU focuses on sharing information and coordinate planning to lay the groundwork for a formal rail haulage services agreement.

      Huren Chuulut is potentially the first major user of the Erdenet to Ovoot Railway as it could access the rail line before construction is completed through to the Ovoot Coking Coal Project.

March 27 -- Mongolian metallurgical coal explorer and infrastructure company, Aspire Mining Limited (ASX: AKM, the Company or Aspire), has, through its rail subsidiary, Northern Railways LLC ("Northern Railways"), entered into a Memorandum of Understanding ("MOU") with MTGT LLC, the 100% owner of the Huren Chuulut Iron Ore Project.

Huren Chuulut is a large iron ore deposit located approximately 50 kilometres to the north west of the Khuvsgul capital of Moron and 60 kilometres north of the approved rail alignment for the Erdenet to Ovoot Railway. This Project needs rail to Erdenet to be able to connect to customers in China. Mongolia currently exports iron ore to Chinese customers along the Trans Mongolian Railway.

The MOU covers the sharing of development progress, mutual support in funding activities and the provisional allocation of 5 Mtpa of freight capacity as soon as the rail line has been extended to the proposed connection point approximately two thirds along the total 549 kilometre Erdenet to Ovoot Railway.

It is expected that the Northern Rail Corridor will see significant demand for its freight capacity of at least 15Mtpa, growing to 30Mtpa in the long term.

Aspire's Managing Director David Paull said that this MOU demonstrated that the Erdenet to Ovoot Railway will not only benefit Mongolia's coking coal industry. Once completed, the Northern Rail Corridor, of which the Erdenet to Ovoot Railway is an important part, will see transport of a range of resources, agriculture and manufactured goods".

Link to release

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WOF closed -5.4% Monday to A$0.035. Trading 5.7% mid-Tue at A$0.033

Wolf Petroleum: Matthew Wood resigns as non-executive director

March 27, Wolf Petroleum Ltd. (ASX:WOF) Wolf Petroleum Limited ('the Company') announces that Mr Matthew Wood has resigned from his position on the Board as Non-Executive Director effective immediately.

The Board wishes to thank Mr Wood for his contribution to the Company.

Link to release

Final Director's Interest Notice

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Local Market

MSE Weekly Report: Top 20 -3.16%, ALL -4.44%, Turnover 248.1M Shares, 1.9B T-Bills, 12.8B Issued

March 27 (MSE) --

Link to report

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MSE Trading Report, March 27: Top 20 -1.02%, ALL -0.68%, Turnover 47.1M Shares, 1.6B T-Bills

March 27 (MSE) --

Link to report

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AML/CFT working group of Mongolia holds regular meeting

March 25 (Financial Regulatory Commission) Working group in charge of the implementation of the Law on Anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing and Recommendations from Financial Action Task Force /FATF/ holds its regular meeting in order to discuss a course of activities to be conducted.

Mongolia's regime on AML/CFT has been rated as partially compliant by the mutual evaluation from the Asia/Pacific Working Group on Money Laundering and report from the Mongolian officials, says Mr. Batzorig.B, Head of the Working group.

Since a significant share of the mutual evaluation conducted by the FATF's APG fall within the Financial Regulatory Commission's regulatory framework and its relevant institutions, it's the responsibility of the FRC to pay particular attention to this issue. In this respect, the FRC has developed an action plan to improve the current condition, prevent potential risks with collaboration of the law enforcement organizations and Financial Stability Committee.

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Economy

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

BoM MNT Rates: Monday, March 27 Close

 

3/27

3/24

3/23

3/22

3/21

3/20

3/17

3/16

3/15

3/14

High

Date

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USD

2,458.85

2,459.18

2,459.57

2,459.38

2,457.58

2,458.10

2,457.12

2,454.96

2,457.12

2,458.38

2,498.75

1/10/2017

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EUR

2,671.66

2,649.52

2,654.98

2,656.50

2,649.64

2,647.37

2,645.09

2,633.07

2,614.01

2,615.22

2,681.43

11/10/2016

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JPY

22.32

22.09

22.11

22.06

21.78

21.83

21.68

21.68

21.42

21.35

23.49

11/9/2016

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GBP

3,089.30

3,070.04

3,068.81

3,066.97

3,038.31

3,052.47

3,033.31

3,012.73

3,005.06

2,983.49

3,183.26

8/13/2014

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RUB

43.13

42.81

42.86

42.70

42.89

42.93

42.41

42.23

41.58

41.69

54.32

6/27/2014

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CNY

357.66

356.72

357.08

357.18

356.28

355.99

355.72

356.17

355.49

355.30

363.02

1/5/2017

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KRW

2.21

2.19

2.19

2.19

2.19

2.20

2.17

2.17

2.15

2.14

2.20

3/20/2017

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SGD

1,765.08

1,755.99

1,757.65

1,758.27

1,756.79

1,759.93

1,751.46

1,748.55

1,739.74

1,737.19

1,759.93

3/20/2017

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CAD

1,845.01

1,840.98

1,843.69

1,839.68

1,840.95

1,843.48

1,842.20

1,845.90

1,825.16

1,825.08

1,908.84

1/18/2017

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AUD

1,876.23

1,872.79

1,879.36

1,886.47

1,893.32

1,902.08

1,885.23

1,892.16

1,862.87

1,855.22

1,913.20

2/16/2017

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HKD

316.57

316.60

316.65

316.66

316.46

316.53

316.44

316.22

316.29

316.42

322.21

1/10/2017

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CHF

2,496.04

2,474.27

2,476.16

2,478.09

2,465.35

2,463.52

2,466.62

2,455.08

2,438.95

2,435.12

2,497.77

11/09/2016

Bank USD rates at time of sending: Khan (Buy ₮2,450 Sell ₮2,460), TDB (Buy ₮2,450 Sell ₮2,458), Golomt (Buy ₮2,450 Sell ₮2,460), XacBank (Buy ₮2,450 Sell ₮2,459), State Bank (Buy ₮2,450 Sell ₮2,460)

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

Link to rates

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BoM issues 588 billion 1-week bills, total outstanding +21.4% to ₮1.18 trillion

March 27 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 588 billion at a weighted interest rate of 14.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release

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Food prices up sharply in March

March 27 (UB Post) As of March 22, prices for consumer goods increased by 0.2 percent after March 15 and have been up by slightly less than six percent since February, according to the National Statistical Office (NSO).

MEAT

The NSO reported that prices for bone-in mutton increased by 0.2 percent, bone-in beef was up by 0.6 percent, and filleted beef was up by 0.6 percent after March 15. Prices for bone-in goat meat fell by 2.6 percent and the price for bone-in horse meat remained the same.

Compared to February, all types of meat sold for prices at least five percent higher.

Prices for bone-in mutton increased by 9.8 percent, bone-in beef by 5.1 percent, filleted beef by five percent, bone-in horse meat by 5.4 percent, and bone-in goat meat by 7.3 percent.

On average, bone-in mutton is currently being sold for 6,620 MNT per kilogram, bone-in beef for 7,785 MNT, filleted beef for 9,010 MNT, bone-in horse meat for 4,875 MNT, and bone-in goat meat for 4,700 MNT per kilogram.

VEGETABLES

Prices for most vegetables have spiked since last month, except for potato prices, which fell by 1.7 percent.

The prices for carrots rose by 1.4 percent, beets rose by 5.9 percent, and onions rose by 2.8 percent in the past month, while cabbage prices doubled.

On average, cabbage is being sold for 2,000 MNT per kilogram, beets for 1,400 MNT, carrots for 1,040 MNT, and potato for 750 MNT per kilogram at most large markets in Ulaanbaatar.

DAIRY PRODUCTS

As of February 22, the price for one liter of processed milk rose by more than five percent to 2,400 MNT, and raw milk rose by 33.3 percent. The price for a half liter of packaged milk fell by 2.1 percent and is being sold for 1,100 MNT.

There haven't been any significant changes to the prices for most dairy products since March 15, apart from the price for a single liter of packaged milk, which rose by 2.1 percent.

Sour cream has been selling for the same price since March 15, which was 1.1 percent higher than it was in February 22. Sour cream imported from Russia costs an average of 3,400 MNT in Ulaanbaatar.

OTHER STAPLES

Prices for flour, sugar, vegetable oil, rice, and eggs have not seen changes in the past three weeks, but they have risen slightly since February.

Compared to February, prices for eggs rose by 7.6 percent to 320 MNT, vegetable oil by 0.4 percent to 3,700 MNT, sugar by 5.8 percent to 2,350 MNT per kilogram, and white rice rose by 0.4 percent to 2,480 MNT per kilogram. Meanwhile, the price for one kilogram of all-purpose flour rose by 2.7 percent, with most markets selling it for 1,200 to 1,300 MNT. Bread flour and unbleached flour prices rose by 2.4 percent respectively, ranging between 800 MNT and 1,300 MNT.

Link to article

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Overview: 2017 Budget Amendment Bill

March 27 (UB Post) Minister of Finance B.Choijilsuren submitted a final draft of amendments to the 2017 state budget to the Speaker of Parliament M.Enkhbold, drafted for the implementation of an extended fund facility program from the International Monetary Fund.

The authors of the amendments believe they will help in implementing basic guidelines for 2017's socio-economic development and include measures from a program to overcome economic challenges approved by Parliament last year.

The amendments focus on strengthening the state budget and the nation's financial environment, permanently reducing budget deficits, and strengthening fiscal discipline.

Minister B.Choijilsuren pointed out that the following measures are outlined in the amendments:

1. increasing excise taxes on alcoholic beverages and imposing a tariff on imported cigarettes

2. increasing excise taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel within legal limits

3. raising excise taxes on vehicle imports, depending on engine capacity

4. dividing personal income taxes into three brackets and increasing personal income tax for people with higher incomes

5. charging a ten percent tax on interest earned from savings accounts

6. raising social insurance fees

The Minister of Finance also noted that the following measures will be taken to reduce the government's operational expenditures and to cut spending:

1. increase the efficiency of tenders being carried out in the medical sector

2. gradually raise the retirement age every two years

3. promote the Meat and Milk Campaign to develop meat and dairy products, launch the Atriin 3 Campaign to improve agriculture, and support small enterprises to create more jobs

4. provide the state's monthly welfare allowance of 20,000 MNT for children and other state assistance only to targeted groups

5. repeal existing laws that put pressure on the state budget

Under the amendments, the state will aim for revenue to reach 23.1 percent of GDP (6.015 billion MNT), expenditure to be 33.7 percent (8.789 billion MNT), and for only 10.6 percent (2.774 billion MNT) to be deficit.

Link to article

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Politics & Legal

Defacto Review, March 26

March 27 (Jargal Defacto) Reviewed topics:

1. New Budget

2. Judicial independence

3. Air pollution plan

4. Astronaut anniversary

Link to video

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NGOs vow to fight for rights of child jockeys harmed during spring races

March 27 (gogo.mn) Mongolian human rights organizations including National Center for Children's Rights, Adolescent Development Center and MONFEMENT National Network and Civil Society Network for Public Education today announced to fight for the rights of child jockeys harmed during spring horse races. 

The Government of Mongolia violates the law, not implementing common functions to manage economic, social and cultural organizations. The horse races held in spring revealed that the governors are not implementing the state management in their belonging aimags. 

More than 50 child jockeys fell off their horses at the spring horse races that held in Tuv, Gobi-Altai, Khuvsgul, Khovd and Dornogobi aimags. Of which 10 children received minor injuries while six of them seriously injured and one child died. 

Even the court delayed the organization of the races, the Government ignored the court`s decision. Therefore Mongolian human rights organizations expressed to fight for the rights of the child jockeys against the Government.

Link to article

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Mongolia PM concludes working visits to western provinces

Ulaanbaatar, March 27 (MONTSAME) Prime Minister J.Erdenebat paid a working visit to western provinces, namely Khovd, Gobi-Altai, Bayan-Khongor and Uvurkhangai on March 23-25.

The weather was bad in those days, with heavy snowfall and storm, blocking some passes. Heavy snowfall in early spring days is considered favorable for vegetative growth as Khovd, Gobi-Altai and Bayankhongor aimags had small amount of snowfall in winter, while herders of Bayan-Ulgii and Uvurkhangai aimags have had barriers to pasture their livestock.

"Main principle of our Government is to meet people and hear their opinions and views. This allows us to define the needs of local people properly. I have worked in 11 aimags since my appointment. In each meeting, people ask to solve economic difficulties immediately as their lives are getting tougher. The Government is working and will continue to work hard utilizing all possibilities" said PM J.Erdenebat.

Among the requests put by local people, issues related to healthy, safe and favorable living conditions, including energy and heat supply, hygienic condition of drinking water were common.

Almost every aimag has a center of professional vocational training. The centers train professionals with the same specialization matching to training basis, equipment and facilities. "- Even though the market has sufficient professionals of that specialization, the centers continue to train with that specialization, which means a policy failure. Therefore, the centers should have united and specified structuring" said the PM.

Western provinces have problems of energy and heat supply. Due to many low-pressure stoves, air pollution has increased. "The Government will pay attention on increasing capacity of the power plants, including establishing a integrated network of heat supply of Uvurkhangai and Bayankhongor aimags, which has been under consideration for many years" said PM J.Erdenebat.

During his visit, the PM resolved some issues on the site. The major issues include:

In Khovd aimag

-       To establish a 64 megawatt-hydro power plant with budget of over USD 260 million

-       To build 163 km paved road en route Khovd and Bayan-Ulgii and put into operation within this year (ADB financed project)

-       To make renovation to the building of Western Region Diagnostic Center

-       UAZ van was granted for medical service

In Gobi-Altai aimag

-       46 km long steel pipe for drinking water to be put on between Taishir soum and Altai soum (with Austrian investment of Euro14 million)

-       To complete the building of 263 km paved road en route Gobi-Altai and Bayankhongor within this year

In Bayankhongor aimag

-       To build heating power station with finance of Ex-Im bank of Republic of Korea, to be commissioned in 2018

-       Budget of MNT540 million was included in the State budget for the building of "Center of the hard workers". The center will provide over 500 persons with work place.  

-       To construct new building of a museum

-       A van was granted to the hospital

In Uvurkhangai aimag

-       To establish a united network for heating of Uvurkhangai and Bayankhongor aimags

-       To distribute 300 tons of hay free of charge and 500 tons of forage with 50 per cent discount

-       A van and 22 types of equipment with 193 pieces, worth MNT 4 billion were granted to the hospital

Link to article

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President addresses 12th MONFEMNET meeting on gender equality

Ulaanbaatar, March 27 (MONTSAME) MONFEMNET National Network NGO organized its annual summit 'Through the eyes of women' on March 24-26 at Chinggis Hotel, and President Ts.Elbegdorj was present to deliver an opening speech.

Since 2006, the NGO has held the summit every year on the occasion of International Women's Day, March 8, with an aim to address gender equality, and make a human rights-based and gender-responsive assessment on strategically important matters concerning Mongolia.

During his speech, the President highlighted three points which included an encouragement for civil society organizations to never back down from what they mean to achieve, a reminder on what civil society organizations should focus on and structure of civil society organizations.

"If the citizens are strong and ambitious, the nation will move forward", he remarked, encouraging more participation from citizens in the community.

Since 1990 when the first civil society organizations were founded, over 30 thousand civil society organizations have been formed and registered in Mongolia, and one out of every 6 organizations is actively operating today, a study reveals.

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We sat down with the governor of Umnugobi Province, N.Naranbaatar

Mongolian Economy Magazine, March 2017 

March 27 (Mongolian Economy) We sat down with the governor of Umnugobi Province, N.Naranbaatar.

- Umnugobi is a province with resources useful for Mongolia's development. How are you setting provincial development goals? What issues that need to be addressed are you facing?

- Three of the 13 strategic deposits of Mongolia are located in our province. Furthermore, Umnugobi is the largest province in Mongolia by territory and a major tourist destination. Twenty-three large tourist camps are operating in our province, contributing to in the development of family and private businesses in the province. In addition, our province trades with China through two ports. In recent years, the Chinese side has been frequently organising exhibitions, which gives us an opportunity to people engaged in family businesses to sell their products. We need to develop our developmental policy based on these three main advantages.

Things need to be based on research, however. Thus, we reformed Umnugobi Province's socio-economic baseline studies. N.Amarzaya MP and Oyu Tolgoi provided a certain amount of funding for the initiative by the governor's office. A team of scientists from the national universities worked in our province for six months and recently handed over the study to the local authority.

- The population of your province has significantly increased in recent years. How is the availability of jobs today?

- Whether this rapid growth should continue is a population policy issue to decide. Our province has a population of about 63 thousand people. It would be more than 80 thousand if we include the people who come here to work. In the future, it will be resolved by providing jobs more for the local residents. In the past, we came to an understanding with the companies operating here that they must provide jobs to the local residents. Then, people increasingly started to transfer their residency to get jobs, and it is same for businesses. Companies affiliated in Ulaanbaatar open their branches here and then turns it to a company established in Umnugobi. This situation must also be taken care of appropriately. We are striving to get the local companies to supply more than 50 percent of OT's procurement in the next four years.

- How is life today in Umnugobi? They say that most of the herders of your province have 2-3 powerful vehicles. Are there any soums where poverty is a concern?

- Levels of poverty are lower compared to other provinces as people are living in a mining region. For example, registered residents of Khanbogd, Tsogttsetsii and Gurvantes soums exceed 5,000. That figure would be 10 thousand if we included the people who go there to work. Manufacturing and service businesses are growing along with the population. Residents of soums with large mines are more than likely working in mines compared to people of other soums. Mining salary is higher than the salaries of other sectors. For example, the salary of heavy vehicle operators is around MNT 3-5 million per month.

On the other hand, it should be noted that our province has many soums that do not have a single operating mine. Threats such as soums becoming abandoned due to migration to mining areas are being observed. An integrated policy needs to be implemented. Regulations on establishing cooperation agreements with mining companies, equally distributing the funds coming from them, setting quotas within the workforce policy on the provincial level and establishing more industries in soums without mines are needed.

- Mining operations have significantly expanded within 10 years, but what changes have there been in the tourism sector? What works are planned?

- Tourist camps in our province have the best service in Mongolia. Many comfortable and high-end tourist camps have been established. Some camps are even capable of receiving 1,500 people at once. However, there are a tremendous amount of problems to solve regarding the infrastructure. In particular, it is important to connect the natural sites to paved road. We are working to resolve infrastructure issues in the western part of the province as tourism is more developed there. However, this requires a huge amount of funds which our province cannot provide alone.

On the other hand, it is fully possible to develop cross-border tourism. There are huge tourism regions of China behind the two ports. The government needs to give its support to attract them and take care of the visa issue. Our tourist camps have the potential and the capacity, if there is enough support.

- You mentioned building roads in the west of the province. People ask why such issues cannot be resolved by cooperating with the large mining companies operating in the province. What would you say about that?

- Our provincial administration began construction of a paved road in the western region in 2012 at our own expense. At least MNT 300 billion will be required to pave 300 km of road leading to Gurvantes soum, the westernmost soum of the province. Currently, we have paved 80 km of road after paving 10-20 km of road per year by doing what we can. We submitted a request to the government as it would prolong the issue if it continues like this. However, our request was not included in the state budget due to the economic difficulties. Still, we will continue to do what we can.

A variety of offers come from companies. Some even propose finishing the road together, but there are many urgent issues to resolve in this mining region, including hospitals, schools, dormitories and sewage lines.

We closely cooperate with Oyu Tolgoi. The company started investing USD 5 million per year beginning last year within the cooperation agreement made with our province. This investment is dedicated to social infrastructure, especially in health and education, so those funds cannot be spent on road construction.

We are also negotiating with other mining companies to establish similar agreements. We will begin making agreements after the Lunar New Year.

- Water is scarce in the Gobi desert, and the issue has become especially important due to mining activities. Is there hope for a solution?

-Initially, large mines and mining projects were planning to use groundwater resources. The provincial authority will not support this. People are also not supportive of this because it will affect animals and vegetation and lead to desertification. Although we have groundwater resources, the provincial authority is supporting the previously discussed "Kherlen Gobi" and "Orkhon Gobi" projects. Although these projects have not been discussed much lately, the provincial administration has submitted a request to the government on restoring the projects.

These projects will also go through the territory of other provinces such as Dundgovi, Dornogovi and Uvurkhangai in addition to Umnugobi. They would be greatly beneficial to agriculture and animal husbandry.

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Voice of Mongolia Audio News for March 27

March 27 (Voice of Mongolia) Listen to the latest news summary of daily top news stories hosted by the Voice of Mongolia.

Today's highlights:

·         Mongolian national dwelling Ger library opens in Taiwan

·         Heavy and light production to be promoted

·         Mongolia's water reserves considered

·         World Bank helps Mongolia diversify exports

(AUDIO)

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New issue of Mongolia Today magazine is out

March 27 (MONTSAME) The Mongolia Today quarterly magazine is published by the English Publications Department of MONTSAME National News Agency. The Mongolia Today edition for January-April 2017 is dedicated to the Ulaanbaatar Investment Forum 2017, which took place in the capital city on February 20.

For Mongolia, 2017 will be a year of remarkable responsibility as the government has recently agreed to implement International Monetary Fund's financial program in order to overcome economic difficulties. Reviving the economy by way of boosting foreign investment is the crucial objective under the current conditions. Therefore, we focused more on the investment environment of the capital city.

Some of the article featured in the this edition covering a wide range of topics are as follows,

- Review on how the development of Ulaanbaatar city can be intensified through investment

- Interviews with Ts.Sandui, Chairman of the Citizen's representative Khural and O.Amartuvshin, member Administrative Board of Directors

- Opinions of foreign investors and local businessmen on the opportunities the forum provides and the Mongolia's business atmosphere.

- History of Mongolia's Presidential Elections

- New development projects put into operation in 2016

- Coverage from the 11th International Mongolian Studies Conference

- Introduction to the Mongolian talents famous around the world

- Reasons Mongolian people love their Tsagaan Sar

- Captivating culture of Mongolian horses - 2017 tours events guide

- Expats' life in Ulaanbaatar

- History of Ulaanbaatar architecture and many more. 

Subscription to print and digital editions of Mongolia Today quarterly magazine is available.

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AmCham Daily Newswire for March 27, 2017

GOVERNMENT

Speaker of Parliament to pay an official visit to Japan

Summary: Speaker of Parliament M. Enkhbold is on his way to meet with the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, to discuss partnership between the two countries. M. Enkhbold is also expected to meet with representatives of the Japanese parliament. M. Enkhbold is set to discuss the finalization of the mid-term program for strategic partnership between the two countries. The Speaker of Parliament will meet with Japan's Minister of Finance to discuss possible loans and grant. After his visit to Japan concludes, the Speaker is scheduled to attend the 136th Inter-Parliamentary Union in Bangladesh.

Keywords: foreign relations, strategic partnership, Japan | The Official Gazette /page2/


Prime Minister discusses investment in Gobi-Altai Province infrastructure

Summary: Prime Minister J. Erdenebat continued his visit to the provinces with a visit to Gobi-Altai Province. While meeting with province residents, the PM announced that 285 billion MNT of investment will be made in the province to develop roads, steel pipes, and other infrastructure. Financing for the projects will come from the Australian government and Asian Development Bank.

Continuing his visit, the PM visited Bayankhongor Province. While meeting with province residents, the PM highlighted that the agriculture sector is key to economic development and that the government will pay special attention to its development. The PM announced that an agreement has been signed to issue low interest rate loans for the lease and purchase of 10 million USD in tractors and other farming equipment. The PM also noted that 60 powdered milk factories will be opened through cooperation with Japan.

Keywords: Prime Minister, agriculture, development | The Century News /page 2/


MINING

New direct route opens for minerals export

Summary: In order to diversify Mongolia's market for international coal buyers, the first train transporting coal directly from Dornogobi Province to Tianjin Port launched last  week. With direct access to Tianjin's maritime port, Mongolian coal could be exported to Russia, Indonesia, and other countries at international market prices. Minister of Roads and Transportation Development D. Ganbat stated, "Mongolia opened a new path for export and we are working toward utilizing this opportunity."

Through the Olon-Ovoo Station in Dornogobi, Chinggis' Black Gold, Friendship, and other companies will be exporting minerals from the Altantolgoi mine. The price of coal has increased since February 2016, and Mongolia exported 25 million tons of coal last year, netting one billion USD, reaching an all-time high. Three companies operating at the Altantolgoi mine have signed agreements to export 800,000 tons of coal, and have stated that it is possible to increase the amount to 4 million tons annually. With plans for further upgrades for the railway and the Olon-Ovoo station, the export amount is expected to increase. With the start of minerals transportation, Ulaanbaatar Railway is set to earn around 9 billion MNT each month.       

The Deputy Director of Chinggis' Black Gold, A. Davaajav, stated, "Our company plans to export 600,000 tons of coal, or 9,400 wagons, selling 28 billion MNT worth of coal and  paying 9.4 billion MNT for transportation fees and 4.2 billion MNT to the state and province.

Keywords: Tianjin Port, export, minerals | Today /page A1,B2/


ONLINE STORY

Non-banking financial institution assets increased by 26.3%

Summary: The Financial Regulatory Commission announced that the total assets of non-banking financial institutions reached 787.2 billion MNT in 2016. The FRC highlighted that the sector's total assets increased by 26.3% (163.9 billion MNT). The weighted average interest rate at 454 non-banking financial institutions with special licenses stands at 4%, a decrease of 0.2% compared to last quarter. The number of non-banking financial institution has reached 518, an increase of 15.1% since the beginning of the year. The majority of non-banking financial institutions mainly focus on loans, and 27.8% of the institutions engage in foreign currency exchange. The largest 21 non-banking financial institution's total assets make up 24.5% of all assets in the sector.

Keywords: non-banking financial institutions, economy, FRC | www.bloombergtv.mn

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Business

Mongolian Mining Journal: 100 issues of togetherness in development

March 27 (Mongolian Mining Journal) This is our magazine's 100th issue, and we thank all our readers, advertisers and well-wishers for being with us over these 100 months on the development path.

These 100 issues record a part of the history of Mongolian development in a period of major changes. For us, producing every month's issue is like implementing a new project, and today we at The Mongolian Mining Journal feel a sense of satisfaction that we have been successful with 100 projects. This success has been a learning process for us, and we hope you agree that our team has been doing better with every issue. Certainly we, along with the rest of the country, have seen and learnt a lot in these 100 months, spanning years when modern mining came to Mongolia, in the form of Oyu Tolgoi, Tavan Tolgoi and other such projects. Over these 100 issues we have tried to share with readers our understanding of how the mining sector is changing here, and how close we are to the wide world. That is the stuff of history.

The first issue of MMJ came in late 2008, at a time when Mongolia's mining sector was being launched on its path of intensive development. "We all wish for development and we all have our different ideas about how to hasten it. The MMJ wants to critically examine these ideas with the help of adequate and correct information." These words appear next to the Editorial in every issue. Arguing for development has been our constant principle, and to make that argument acceptable, MMJ has been trying to balance different positions and reach a national consensus.

These 100 issues over almost nine years bear witness to honest mistakes and to worthy accomplishments. Our aim always has been to bring the most accurate mining information to our readers and our rich archives will show how we have gradually expanded our reach, through analysis, reports, interviews, photographs etc. We have followed the progress of big projects on deposit usage, and reported the results, both good and bad. We have tried to look into the future by following trends, overt or implied. We have reported on crises and recovery, on stumbles and successes, and in the process brought to you stories of hope, desperation, endurance, and triumph. A look back on these 100 issues, each a project by itself, will trace the course the Mongolian mining sector took over the years, marked by accomplishments and blunders, ups and downs, expectations and surprises, disappointments and vindications. Some of them are still fresh and might be very useful information even now for observers of the mining sector.

Another group to find these back issues useful would be students of journalism. MMJ can claim to be a pioneer in business and industrial journalism in Mongolia, creating ways of covering news and developments, especially in the mining sector.

Oyu Tolgoi and Tavan Tolgoi have become fixtures in the national psyche and almost every issue of MMJ has had something on either or both of them. A random look at our 2008 issues would show how the two projects were expected to contribute to the state budget enough revenue to fund Mongolian development for longer than an individual's lifetime.

Signing the OT agreement united the whole country in celebration and production seemed just a step away from the mine construction. As for Tavan Tolgoi, there were bids, new feasibility studies, various ideas on how to turn coal into treasure, conflicts between antagonistic political interests, the "wars over the railway", the running battle between the politics of destruction and construction, the milestone of Mongolian engineers' success in building a coal handling facility in Tsogttsetsii soum, which was to help make Mongolian coal a brand name in the global market, and endless such stories.

The optimism was soon crushed under the weight of the global recession that hit hard the mining sector, mainstay of the country's economy. We were "overthrown by ourselves", MMJ wrote. That was true, with erratic changes in the legal environment reflecting our government's inconsistent policies.

Good sense dawned. We made a U-turn, choosing new partners and learning how to make a success of partnership. Such fundamental changes do not come easy; right now, the future of our big projects is still not certain, national opinion is fractured, and the global commodity market continues to shock the Mongolian mining sector. 

All this from the last nine years, special moments and routine but no less important events, is there in these 100 issues. Having thus recorded the past, we now look to the future, when from issue to issue we shall be charting the trajectory of the Mongolian mining sector.

We thank all the professionals, researchers and academics who gave their often different views to us, allowing MMJ to stress its independence and neutrality. Our job is to give present information and clarify trends, leaving our readers to make up their mind.

Many of them have been with us right from the first issue, many advertisers have provided constant support, many sector professionals have helped us keep our focus, many academics have added value to our contents, and there are many who have preserved past issues as souvenirs of a partnership in development. We are grateful to you all and our apologies for inadvertent mistakes that crop up despite our best efforts. With all your support and best wishes, we now begin our work on the next 100 issues, project by project, month by month.

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Mongolia converts two Boeing 737 purchase orders to leasing

Ulaanbaatar, March 27 (MONTSAME) Mongolian Airlines (MIAT) has reached a lease agreement with the Boeing Company regarding 2 Boeing 737 MAX 8 airplanes starting from 2019 and for 12 years.

After signing an agreement to purchase 3 airliners from the Boeing Company, Mongolian Airlines received a Boeing 767-300ER aircraft in 2013.  The remaining two aircrafts were to be purchased in 2019, however, on account of the current economic difficulties, the Mongolian side has decided to lease the airplanes.

As such, the purchase order has been transferred to Avolon Aerospace Leasing Limited company based in Ireland, and a trilateral agreement has been signed.

The Boeing 737 MAX 8 airplanes are expected to arrive in Mongolia in the first and second seasons of 2019.

Mongolian Airlines conducts its flights with 5 Boeing airliners which were manufactured from 2000 to 2014.

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EBRD: Sainshand Wind Park Project Passes Concept Review, Pending Final Review

Country: Mongolia

Project number: 47397

Business sector: Power and energy

Notice type: Private

Environmental category: A

Status: Passed concept review, Pending final review

PSD disclosed: 27 Mar 2017

Project Description

The provision of a senior loan of up to USD 30 million to Sainshand Salkhin Park LLC (the "Company") to support the development, construction and operation of the Sainshand Wind Farm (the "Project"), a 55MW wind power plant to be located approximately 460km to the south east of Ulaanbaatar (UB) in the Gobi desert.

Project Objectives

The Sainshand Wind Farm will be the third wind energy project developed in Mongolia, following the Salkhit Wind Farm and the Tsetsii Wind Farm projects, which EBRD financed in 2012 and 2016 . The operation will contribute to reducing Mongolia's carbon intensity as well as meeting its increasing power demand. In addition, the project will also strengthen the private sector presence in the energy sector in the country and contribute to reaching the national renewable energy targets.

Transition Impact

The transition impact stems from the fact that (i) the Project will assist Mongolia in diversifying its coal-dependent power sector and reducing CO2 emissions by up to 5 million tons over the Project's lifetime; and (ii) the Project will result in a new private entrant in the Mongolian power generation sector, where assets are almost entirely state-owned. The Project will be in line with the Bank's Green Economy Transition approach (GET).

Client Information

Sainshand Salkhin Park LLC

The Company is a special purpose limited liability company incorporated in Mongolia to be owned by Engie, the IFU, Ferrostaal Industrial Projects as well as a local partner.

EBRD Finance Summary

USD 30,000,000.00

Senior secured loan of up to USD 30.0 million (EUR 28.4 million equivalent) to the Company on a limited-recourse project finance basis.

Total Project Cost

USD 120,000,000.00

Environmental and Social Summary

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Annual Technology & Investment to Mongolia conference and exhibition to be held in April

March 27 (gogo.mn) "Technology & Investment to Mongolia 2017", an annual international technology conference and exhibition will take place at Shangri-La Hotel, Ulaanbaatar on Apr 20-21. 

The exhibition's unique mission is to introduce the cutting edge technology to Mongolian priority 10 sectors such as Mongolian infrastructure, construction industry, mining industry, city and rural planning, environmental technology, renewable energy, agriculture, industry sector, energy sector and as well as financial sector.  One of the main issues for Mongolian development is financing so this exhibition would like to focus on the investment.

"Technology and Investment to Mongolia 2017" is offering its participants a direct access to the Government of Mongolia through its Government Hour event. The Organizing Committee will be accepting questions and comments from various participants. All questions will be directed to the respective government body in advance of the event hence giving ample time for appropriate officials to prepare to address the issue in a constructive way during the Government Hour.

Registration for the event is available on www.technologyandinvestmenttomongolia.com/

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Related:

Technology exhibition to take place in AprilMontsame, March 27

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9 days left for "Mongolia Mining 2017" expo

March 28 (GoGo Mongolia) 9 days left for the annual "Mongolia mining 2017", the biggest expo in the mining industry. 

The expo allows mining suppliers and their customers to attend the conference and seminars and get acquaint with the latest mining technologies which will be exhibited at Buyant Ukhaa complex. 

Mongolia mining 2017 is an international exhibition. In 2016, the expo gathered 100 companies from 10 countries including;

  • Australia (2)
  • Belarus (1)
  • China (16)
  • South Korea (1)
  • United Kingdom (4)
  • Mongolia (42)
  • Netherland (3)
  • Russia (3)
  • Czech (2)
  • France (1)
  • Germany (3)
  • Canada (1)
  • Japan (1)

Over 130 companies have registered to attend the expo this year. Therefore domestic manufacturers are able to get information of products from its official agents and distributors at one spot as well as to make comparisons. 

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Hogan Lovells hosts training for women leaders on Executive Presence

Ulaanbaatar, March 27 (MONTSAME) The Hogan Lovells Office in Ulaanbaatar organized a workshop training for Mongolian women on Executive Presence and Effective Presenting, aimed at empowering women and promoting their leadership on March 24 at the Mongolian Fine Art Gallery.

More than 40 women received the half-day training, mentored by Sally Dellow, director of Dramatic Difference. Sally Dellow has been working as a personal career coach for the past 25 years. She is a professional actor and conducts her training using participatory methods. She was invited by Hogan Lovells in Ulaanbaatar from her home in Hong Kong only to give this workshop.

When asked about her impression about Mongolian women, Sally said "Mongolia compares very favorable to many western countries, which, I think, is wonderful. Hearing Madam Oyunchimeg (a Mongolian Human Rights Commissioner)'s speech, it is interesting that, nowadays, Mongolian women are more educated than the men".

"My impression of Mongolian women is extremely good. Just this morning, I met a group of lawyers, most of whom are women. They were engaged and asking good questions, so willing to come in and absorb what anybody's bringing. My impression is just really positive", she said.

"Mongolian women have always worked even in traditional lifestyle, and women's works were acknowledged as important as men's works. In Mongolian lifestyle, as I have read, men and women have this sense of joint responsibility. In my opinion, that is what makes Mongolian women more empowered".

Unfortunately, Mongolian women still have to face the challenges that women face in many other countries, especially when transitioning from socialist structure to capitalist structure, such as having to step out of the workplace to have children, which makes women appear slower than their male counterparts, and being paid less for similar works, said Ms. Dellow.

"It is the glass [as invisible] ceiling that women hit before they reach up to the leadership", she told the Mongol Messenger.

Hogan Lovells is an internationally renowned law firm, which has more than 40 office operating worldwide and the first international law firm to open its representative office in Mongolia. Hogan Lovells has been providing legal consulting services to the Mongolian Government, the national and international businesses, as well as the financial institutions.

In the margin of its Citizenship Corporal Social Responsibility Program, Hogan Lovells in Mongolia has been giving out free legal consulting to those in need, realizing environmental protection works and organizing charity events. The empowering training for Mongolian women was organized by Hogan Lovells for four consecutive years, thus far. The law firm pursues a policy, directing that each Hogan Lovells employee must dedicate no less than 25 hours to volunteering.

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How To Create A Retail Company With A Great Future

March 27 (Forbes) Working in retail these days can seem awfully depressing. All around you, things are glum. Fewer consumers are coming into traditional stores and the internet is chipping away many companies' performance. Fashion sales are down overall, consumer tastes have changed and consumers seem to be unreachable by traditional means.

But there is a universe of companies in retail-related businesses that are experiencing the most interesting, exciting change and growth I have ever seen. I recently attended the Millennial 2020 conference in New York and I wish there had been more time to meet more companies. They are turning boring businesses into exciting opportunities and what they are doing couldn't be more thrilling. What do they have in common? They are offering:

  • unique products not otherwise accessible to consumers
  • sales direct to consumers, no retailer in between the brand and the consumer
  • mostly founders who are industry outsiders, typically with a finance background
  • lower prices on their own branded products
  • emotional values like relevance, authenticity and transparency, that legacy brands don't have
  • connection to consumers' lives

It's not likely that all of them will ultimately be successful. But they all have a great chance and the ones that fail will probably fail because of factors outside their company that they can't control.

Here are some of the companies I met with:

Naadam

Naadam makes sweaters. What could be more boring than that?

Naadam founder Matt Scanlan was taking a break from his life as a venture capitalist and took a trip to Mongolia. He met some other travelers and went along with them for a drive that wound up taking 20 hours on a dirt road. When they arrived, Matt found himself stranded for a month in one of the most remote locations in Mongolia with no way of returning to a more populated place. He got to know the people who lived in the region who turned out to be wool growers. Because the location was so remote, the buyers of wool came around only once a season and dictated the price to the growers. The buyers took the wool, cashmere actually, and sold it to a daisy chain of traders and eventually it wound up in garments being sold to consumers.

Scanlan thought the growers were being cheated. He saw that they had no market power and thought he could do better. He bought the wool from the growers at twice the price they were getting. Instead of reselling the wool, he had sweaters designed and had the wool made into the sweaters on his own, eliminating numerous steps in the supply chain. Then he set up a website to sell the garments direct to consumers. He also expanded what he offers to the grower – Naadam added veterinary programs, livestock insurance and breeding development for wool growers. The sweater business took off.

Today, Scanlan has a rapidly growing, high-margin business, even though he is still paying the growers twice the price they previously got. He is offering beautiful product to consumers with transparency and the ethical behavior that consumers today want. He believes there's a potential opportunity to create a similar business with vicuna and alpaca and he's exploring that.

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Time Travel Turtle: Gobi Cashmere factory in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

March 23 (Time Travel Turtle) On the freezing plains of Mongolia, animals have had to evolve over time to protect themselves. For the goats who live there, they have managed to survive by developing thick coats of wool.

Stronger and warmer than anything found on other goats around the world, this wool brings with it not just the livelihoods of the animals who grow it, but also the people who herd them. It is the foundation of Mongolia's deep connection with cashmere.

GOBI FACTORY, ULAANBAATAR

The machines are clattering away – it's hard to hear over the top of them. Workers in protective suits move between them, pushing large baskets. Room after room, different stages of the cashmere production line take place. The fibre is sorted in one area, then it's turned into a usable consistency. Colours are added in another section, then it's put through a machine to prepare it for the final stages.

This the factory of the Gobi cashmere company, one of Mongolia's biggest success stories. Founded 35 years ago, it was once wholly owned by the government but is now in private hands. It employs more than 1500 people and many of them are here, concentrating on their specialised tasks.

Gobi has about two thirds of the cashmere market in Mongolia and it sends its goods to distributors in more than 30 countries around the world. I get a sense of the scale of the operation as I am taken around the factory. As well as the production floors, there are rooms where people are working on designs on computers and creating bespoke products to order.

GOBI OUTLET STORE, ULAANBAATAR

Unfortunately, it's not normally possible to see the inner workings of the Gobi factory. I've been offered exclusive access as part of an international delegation here in Ulaanbaatar for a conference. But right next door is the company's outlet store, which is popular with visitors who want to buy some clothes right from the source.

There's a fashion show going on when I arrive there to have a look. It's not hard to make these clothes look good – not only is the production quality world class but the designs are in line with international fashion standards.

I wander around the outlet and look at the stock on the shelves and hanging on the racks. It's also incredibly affordable – much cheaper than you would find anywhere else in the world. I guess the company saves a lot of money not having to ship the goods and deal with middlemen. I like to think it's also a bit of a reward for anyone who has made the trek all the way to Ulaanbaatar!

MONGOLIA'S CASHMERE INDUSTRY

Cashmere is big business for Mongolia. They produce a third of the global supply and it is the country's largest export after minerals. The good news for the country's economy is that demand has risen in recent years and so has the price, making for a nice increase in Mongolia's GDP.

Unfortunately it has had a flow-on effect that the country is still coming to terms with. Most of the goats that produce the cashmere wool are tended by Mongolia's nomadic herders. (You can see my story here about life as a Mongolian nomad). These nomads are now able to earn a lot more money by keeping goats than traditional livestock, so they're increasing the size of their goat herds.

But the problem is that goats eat a lot more than the traditional animals like cows, sheep and yaks. And unlike those animals, they don't just eat the shoots of the grass, they also go right down and eat the roots as well. So the grasslands that are used for herding are coming under a pressure that seems unsustainable.

If you've never been to Mongolia, let me paint a picture for you. The long stretches of the plains have very little vegetation – certainly seeing a tree is uncommon. There's not much green around, the colour is more like a struggling brown. The ground is actually really dry and it's at risk of becoming desert. So when you have animals that rip up the grass so it can't grow back, that's exactly what's going to happen.

The number of goats in Mongolia has tripled in the past 20 years and it shows no sign of abating. The best figure I've seen shows that a nomadic farmer can earn about US$7500 a year from selling cashmere – which is a lot in a country where so many live under the poverty line. So there's no desire from an economic perspective for the nomads or the government to reduce the amount of goats in the country.

That's a discussion the country will hopefully have in the coming years and it's one of sustainability, not ethics. As I walk through Gobi's factory, it's clear that the cashmere industry is something that should be celebrated in Mongolia. It is directly employing thousands of people on the production and sales side and thousands more who are working the land.

The harsh weather conditions here have created many unique cultural phenomena. Cashmere is one of them. It's a part of Mongolia and learning a bit more about it shows you another layer of this fascinating country.

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Ulaanbaatar

Ulaanbaatar public transport to serve only with smart bus cards from April

Ulaanbaatar, March 27 (MONTSAME) Transportation Department of the capital administration and 'Ulaanbaatar Smart Card' LLC made an announcement regarding a new public transportation policy during a press conference last Friday, March 24.

From April 1 onwards, citizens won't be allowed to pay bus fare with cash. "Ulaanbaatar Smart Card LLC has completed its preparation for full transition to smart card system which aims to improve the standard of public transportation service in Ulaanbaatar", said R.Gan-Erdene, Head of Division of Operation at the company.

As of present, some 438 smart card recharge stations are operating in Ulaanbaatar, and by April 1, the number will have increased to 500 which will be selling 'U-Money' smart cards at the price MNT 2000.

Moreover, Ulaanbaatar Smart Card LLC is offering unlimited cards for those who use public transport regularly; the unlimited cards will cost adults MNT 25 thousand and MNT 8 thousand for children, and holders of the unlimited cards will take buses without limit within a month.

According to a relevant study, about 70 percent of bus-takers in Ulaanbaatar make cash payments which translates as 23 percent revenue decrease for the public transport sector as some people manage to deceive bus drivers and not make full payment which is MNT 500.

Ulaanbaatar Smart Card LLC offers many more opportunities and services in connection to the new public transportation policy on mandatory use of smart cards.

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Diplomacy

Chairman of Mongolian Parliament M.Enkhbold leaves for Japan and Bangladesh

March 27 (gogo.mn) Today on March 27, 2017, Chairman of the State Great Hural (Parliament) of Mongolia Mr. Miyegombo ENKHBOLD leaves for Japan to conduct an official visit.

During his visit, Chairman M.Enkhbold to held bilateral meetings with Premier of Japan Sh.Abe, Speaker of the House of Representatives of Japan T.Oshima and Speaker of the House of Councillors of Japan Ch.Date respectively. Moreover, Foreign Minister F.Kishida, Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare Ya.Shiozaki, Deputy Prime Minister of Japan and Minister of Finance T.Aso will be paying a courtesy call on the Chairman of Mongolian Parliament.

Thereafter, Mongolian delegates headed by Chairman M.Enkhbold to continue their official visit in the People's Republic of Bangladesh to attend the 136th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Dhaka.

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Parliament speaker to pay official visit to JapanMontsame, March 27

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Joint survey starts on China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor

A joint multi-disciplinary survey started Saturday on the China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor.

March 25 (CCTV) The project has the participation of 13 Chinese research institutions and six research institutions from Russia and Mongolia. The survey will cover 9.2 million square kilometers of land from the borders areas of northeast and north China, Mongolia and to the East Siberia and the southern part of Far East of Russia. It will last into 2022.

The survey project will ultimately yield data and maps,build a regional resources and environment database and a transnational information sharing online platform, and submit a strategic advisory report to the relevant departments of the three countries.

Dong Suocheng, chief scientist of the China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor Survey Project, said:"The survey will be of great scientific and practical value for the building of the China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor, the EurAsia Union Strategy and Fast East Development Strategy of Russia and Mongolia's grassland silk-road strategy."

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EU works with Mongolia on strengthening political and economic links

March 27 (EU Delegation to Mongolia) From 27 to 31 March 2017 European Union high-level officials will visit Mongolia to support its political and economic reform path. The meetings will take stock and develop further relations, as Mongolia is a valued partner for the EU. The visit is part of regular, long-established political dialogue/cooperation.

The 17th EU-Mongolia Joint Committee will meet on 31 March.  It will be chaired by Foreign Minister of Mongolia Mr Tsend Munkh-Orgil and EU Managing Director for Asia-Pacific Mr Gunnar Wiegand. They will examine recent developments in EU-Mongolia relations, cooperation related to regional and global issues, the evolution of trade flows as well as the implementation of development assistance. The meeting will also consider measures that may contribute to the development and diversification of trade and economic cooperation.

The Joint Committee will be preceded by three different meetings on 30 March:

1.    The first ever Human Rights Dialogue, part of the EU strategy to promote respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. The main purpose of the dialogue is to support Mongolia's adherence to its bilateral and international obligations in relation to human rights, rule of law and democratic principles. The Dialogue will help identify potential cooperation areas in the human rights field.

2.    The Sub-committee on Trade and Investment, which discusses the diversification of Mongolian economy and the attraction of foreign investment among other issues.

3.    The Working Group on Development Cooperation will review and discuss priorities and their implementation in the medium term.

From 27 to 29 March meetings take place to support implementation of the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP+) under which Mongolian goods enter the EU market duty-free. In 2015, 20% of Mongolian goods exports, worth 16 million euro, entered the EU market duty-free under GSP+.

Mongolia joined the GSP+ scheme in 2014. This scheme aims to help Mongolia implement human and labour rights, environmental protection and good governance conventions and in return grants full removal of tariffs on over 66% of tariff lines.

The EU will engage with stakeholders, authorities, business, civil society, and international organisations, to assess developments in implementing the conventions. The EU will also inform stakeholders of the functioning and benefits of the GSP+ scheme and listen to any concerns or difficulties in its practical implementation. 

Background

The EU regards Mongolia as an important partner in the region and is involved cooperation activities on the ground. The EU actively supported Mongolia in hosting the ASEM Summit in Ulaanbaatar in July 2016.

EU-Mongolia's trade relations are governed by an agreement on trade and economic cooperation that entered into force in 1993. The two Parties accorded each other's exports most-favoured-nation treatment and agreed to foster trade and economic relations. The agreement is highly beneficial to Mongolia. Thanks to the most-favoured-nation treatment clause of the agreement from Mongolia's 84 million euro exports to the EU, 74% or 60 million euro entered with zero tariffs.

Mongolia also benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences – special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance (GSP+) to have its goods entering the EU market duty-free. In 2015 the Mongolian clothing and apparel sector benefits the most under GSP+, exporting around 15 million euros duty-free.

This gives the Mongolian products better access to the EU market and contributes to Mongolia's economic growth and sustainable development.

For Mongolia, the EU is one of its main trading partners. In 2016, the total trade value of goods between the EU and Mongolia was EUR 380 million. Mongolia exported EUR 67 million of goods to the EU and imported EUR 313 million from the EU.

Mongolia's main exports to the EU are clothing, textiles and raw materials (especially hair of cashmere goats), EU exports to Mongolia consisted mainly of machinery, chemicals and food products.

The EU and Mongolia negotiated a new agreement to strengthen political, economic and sectoral cooperation: the Framework Agreement on Partnership and Cooperation. It will provide the basis for a broader and more effective engagement by the EU and its Member States with Mongolia moving forward. It is testimony to the importance of EU-Mongolia relations, which are based on the shared values of democracy, rule of law and human rights and respect for international commitments in this regard. On 15 February 2017, the European Parliament gave its consent to conclude the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, paving the way for its entry into force.

Factsheet on the EU-Mongolia Framework Agreement on Partnership and Cooperation
https://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/mongolia/20826/factsheet-eu-mongolia-framework-agreement-partnership-and-cooperation_en

For more information on EU-Mongolia relations please visit our website: http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/mongolia/index_mn.htm

For press enquiries, please contact Ms Sugar OCHIR at eu_office@magicnet.mn

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Embassy in Paris holds book launch meeting for Mongolian author

Ulaanbaatar, March 27 (MONTSAME) Embassy of Mongolia to the French Republic has hosted a meeting with one of Mongolia's rising young novelists L.Ulziitugs, translator R.Munkhzul, who translated The Aquarium by L.Ulziitugs to French language, and publishing editor Emily Maj.

The Aquarium is a collection of L.Ulziitugs's short stories. Mongolian nationals living in Paris have shared their thoughts and impressions on the newly published version of the book with its author and translator. The participants of this meeting applauded that this book will help French-speaking community to have more literary and brighter understanding about Mongolia, instead of receiving information through documentaries, TV programs, media and press.

Aside from this meeting, L.Ulziitugs took part in book launches in Brussels and Paris, gave interview to TV5 channel and attended radio programs, and met with the students of Mongolian language studies of the French National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations (INALCO), while introducing the book as well as promoting Mongolian language and culture.

Translator R.Munkhzul also translated the "Horvootoi Taniltssan Tuuh" (Comment j'ai découvert le monde) by L.Tudev into French in 2016. In recognition of her valuable contribution to presenting Mongolia to the world, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia awarded R.Munkhzul the Honorary Prize last year. 

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Peacekeeping Leaders Address Shared Challenges

by U.S. Pacific Command

Nepal, March 27 (DVIDS) The STEs are designed to improve multinational readiness and coordination in the U.N. Force Headquarters operational-level environment by developing staff officers' capabilities in operations, logistics, planning and civil-military coordination.

Nations from the Indo-Asia-Pacific region currently have more than 16,000 peacekeepers deployed in support of 15 of the 16 U.N. Department of Peacekeeping Operations missions across the world.

The STEs main topics include how peacekeeping operations work, the environments in which peacekeepers operate, and the roles and tasks that a U.N. staff officer will undertake.

The STEs are designed to prepare staff officers for real-world U.N. deployments.

"One of the significant problems identified by the U.N. Department for Peacekeeping Operations is the inadequate preparation of military staff officers. These Staff Training Events, and the U.N. staff officer courses, are designed to address this shortfall," said Ian Parker, Lead STE Instructor from U.S. Pacific Command.

During the STEs leaders also discussed threats and factors affecting the planning of peacekeeping operations, to include: cultural considerations, vast areas covered by limited numbers of peacekeepers, multinational military operations, civil-military cooperation, mission headquarters work, humanitarian components of peacekeeping missions, dealing with violent extremists and transnational threats, human rights, political agendas and more.

Participants at the STEs included officers from Australia, Bangladesh, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cambodia, Fiji, Germany, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, South Korea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Rwanda, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay and Vietnam.

The STEs are being held as part of exercise Shanti Prayas III, a Nepal and U.S. co-sponsored multinational training exercise conducted as part of the U.S. State Department's Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI).

During the Shanti Prayas III opening ceremony Admiral Harry Harris, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, emphasized the importance of partnerships, planning together and being innovative to face global challenges.

"Partnerships play a critical role in meeting global challenges, from maintaining peace to providing humanitarian assistance after natural disasters," said Harris. "In addition to considering logistics, plans, and operations – take the time to think outside the box about peacekeeping and how we can use this time to enhance our collective effectiveness."

The goals of Shanti Prayas III include building partner capacity to conduct pre-deployment training for U.N. peacekeeping operations, improve mission performance, and further enhancing military-to-military relationships and regional interoperability.

Multinational peacekeeping exercises have been conducted annually in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region supporting the GPOI since 2006. The exercises have occurred in Bangladesh (twice), Cambodia, Indonesia (twice), Malaysia, Mongolia (three times), Nepal and Thailand. The last iteration conducted in Nepal occurred in 2013.

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Health & Education

Mongolia to Adopt South Korean Approach to Treatment of Stomach Cancer

SEOUL, Mar. 27 (Korea Bizwire) — The Korean Gastric Cancer Association (KGCA) is helping Mongolia fight cancer through business agreements that will see advanced medical technology applied in the country with the second highest rate of gastric cancer in the world.

The KGCA will continue its efforts to spread awareness and help teach medical technology to developing countries until all human beings are safe from stomach cancer, the organization announced in its ambitious plans at Korea International Gastric Cancer Week (KINGCA), which ended last weekend in Busan.

While South Korea has the misfortune of having the highest rate of gastric cancer in the world, South Korean medical experts have been at the forefront of the fight against the stomach disease, and developing countries with a less-sophisticated medical system like Mongolia stand to benefit significantly from their knowledge and advice.

Last month, a number of KGCA officials visited Mongolia to meet with government officials and medical experts and discuss possible measures on a national level to prevent the spread of the deadly type of cancer both countries suffer the most from.

Kim Sung-guen, director of general affairs at the KGCA, said "The salt and butter that goes into the making of Mongol's much loved milk tea is believed to be one of the major factors behind the country's high rate of gastric cancer. However, most patients start receiving treatment in advanced stages due to their inadequate medical system.

"To solve these issues, (our committee) emphasized the importance to the Mongolian government of having a government-backed checkup service. We expect they will follow in the footsteps of South Korea," Kim added.

The KGCA also facilitated the establishment of a new collaborative gastric cancer association consisting of Mongolian and South Korean medical experts, through which medical technology and knowledge will be shared between the two countries.

Enkh-Amgalan, a professor at Intermed Hospital Mongolia who attended KINGCA, said, "In Mongolia, gastric cancer patients resort to surgery as most of them present with advanced disease. However, (the convention) has been helpful since there was a lot to learn from South Korean medical experts such as laparoscopic resection."

Chairman of the board Han-Kwang Yang said, "We entered into a business agreement with Mongolia's gastric cancer association to help better their medical system by sharing South Korea's advanced medical technology in gastric cancer treatment."

Chairman Yang also made a resolution to spread South Korea's technology in gastric cancer treatment to other developing countries in the future. 

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UB Health Department to cooperate with Medical University Nursing School

Ulaanbaatar, March 27 (MONTSAME) Head of Health Department of the Capital administration L.Tumurbaatar and Director of Nursing School at Mongolian National University of Medical Sciences N.Naranbaatar signed an agreement on implementation of 'Comprehensive nursing capacity-2' project on March 27, Monday. 

Within the framework of the agreement, sides will cooperate on the improvement of nursing service and care. The project aims to improve the access and quality of nursing care and render professional assistance to nurses and special medical care workers keep a record of medical documents and fulfill related decisions and orders.

In particular, with the help of the project professional ethics of nurses and medical care workers and their attitude and knowledge about prevention from infections will be improved in compliance with  the a Health Minister's order dated 2013.

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Health Minister meets JICA Senior Advisor on joint projects

Ulaanbaatar, March 27 (MONTSAME) On March 24, A.Tsogtsetseg, Minister of Health received Yamashita Mamoru, Senior Advisor of JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) to exchange views on cooperation in the field of health.

At the meeting, Minister A.Tsogtsetseg emphasized that projects and programs financed by the government of Japan are being carried-out successfully in Mongolia. She continued that "JICA is making contribution to the health industry of Mongolia by strengthening the capacity of medical specialists working at the first and second-phase hospitals in Mongolia, supplying medical equipment and improving professional skills of Mongolian doctors and medical staff, in particular, volunteers of JICA are working in Mongolia in an area of rehabilitation treatment.

Apart from financing from the Japanese government, JICA has been co-implementing joint humanitarian projects in cooperation with professional associations, societies and non-government organizations and providing humanitarian aid for the medical sector of Mongolia. 

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Exploring space science with Mongolia's first astronaut J. Gurragchaa

March 27 (UB Post) Gurragchaa is the first Mongolian, second Asian and the 101th person to travel to space. He orbited the Earth 124 times during his trip, which lasted seven days, 22 hours and 42 minutes.

After successfully completing his space mission on March 30 36 years ago, he served as the Minister of Defense from 2000 to 2004. In celebration of Mongolian Astronaut's Day on March 22, the Hero of the Soviet Union and living legend gave an interview about Mongolia's first satellite, which will be launched in May.

Mongolia is planning to launch its first satellite soon. Can you tell us briefly about satellites and their significance?

The satellite we're preparing to launch is actually a small cube-shaped satellite measuring 10x10x10 centimeters, which isn't suitable for long-term usage. It will probably be dispatched in mid-May with assistance from a Japanese satellite. The satellite will be sent to take some pictures of specific areas on Earth.

It will most likely become the beginning of a very wonderful research work, but it will not be practical.

A communications satellite, on the other hand, is completely different and very expensive. It relays and amplifies radio telecommunication signals via a transponder and creates a communication channel between a source transmitter and a receiver at different locations on Earth.

Does Mongolia need a communications satellite?

Without a doubt Mongolia needs a satellite. Nowadays it is impossible to live another second without space technology and information gathered from space. In fact, the government led by former Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag between 2012 and 2014 raised funds to develop blueprints for a satellite project and attract investment. Unfortunately, the nation seems to be facing financial challenges now.

There's something most Mongolians misunderstand. Satellites are actually savings, not expenditure. Our nation rents television and radio satellite channels from another country. Government bodies and private companies are all paying expensive fees to use foreign channels.

If we can grit out teeth once and launch a satellite, there's a high possibility we will recover the expenses after a couple of years and even rent the satellite to other countries to increase state revenue. Having our own satellite is beneficial not only strategically but also economically.

There's a split in public opinion for the satellite launch. While some people commend the project, others view the launching of a satellite as superfluous spending when the public lacks money to buy food. What is your stance on the issue?

Information has become much more valuable than food right now. Just because you're starving doesn't mean you have to deprive your access to information. There's a need to have something to connect you to the world and keep you up to date with the rapid development. It could be weather forecasts, geological exploration news, telecommunications, or the internet.

Satellite isn't just an item in space. Once it has been dispatched, we'll be able to build a ground station and develop space science. Eventually, the quantity of satellites will multiply and increase demand for better research centers and human resources. I'm absolutely sure that we have to take courageous steps to start this project.

You sent the first Mongolian peacekeeping deployment in 2003 during your term as Minister of Defense, which also received a lot of negative feedback at the beginning. However, more and more people realized the significance of peacekeeping and the contribution Mongolia was making for world peace through peacekeeping missions over the years. Do you think people's opinion on the satellite project will change in the same manner?

I certainly do. We're required to participate in international efforts to ensure security to be able to keep our own country safe and secure. All our laws and operations are aimed to ensure our national security as well.

I personally believe that space plays a special role in uniting every country on Earth, resolving religious disagreements, and help all sides stay peaceful. A person who wishes to see their own country from space will never want to set off a nuclear bomb.

The Earth looks so much tinier, cleaner and fragile from space, and amplifies our instinct to protect our planet.

All kinds of alleged evidence are being put forward to dispute the notion that the first person to step on the moon was an American. It seems like a conspiracy, but what do Russian cosmonauts think about this issue? Have you talked about this with Russians or do you think it's so ridiculous to even bother starting a conversation on this?

Those who know the truth don't talk about such ridiculous things. This debate was started by people who are desperate to sell their magazines or publication through a new sensation. It's a fact that man walked on the moon.

Let me tell you something interesting. Mongolia's state flag has made it to the moon. American astronaut Neil Alden Armstrong landed on the moon on July 21, 1969 and spent two and a half hours outside his spacecraft, taking samples from the moon and measuring the exact distance between the Earth and the moon.

When Armstrong traveled into space, he took flags of all UN member states with him. They weren't big flags – only small ones. In any case, it means that the Mongolian state flag also reached the moon in 1969. The same Mongolian flag that Armstrong took with him on his moon landing mission is stored safely at the archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Astronauts have to undergo a series of mental and physical training to go into space. How many people would qualify as an astronaut if 1,000 people were randomly recruited for the training? Is there any statistical data on this?

Quite a lot of people will be selected. It's not like you have to be born special to be able to travel to space. Take me for an example. I'm an ordinary person who grew up under ordinary conditions and went to an ordinary school. However, the training for turning an ordinary person into an astronaut is very special.

As a matter of fact, more than 1,000 young men and women were tested to see if they had the potential to become an astronaut. Most of those who were tested actually don't know that they participated in this type of a test. Specialists went over personal files and health and education records kept at factories and other public organizations.

Who conducted the test? Are intelligence agencies involved in such measures?

Most of the people who evaluated potential candidates were doctors. Health was a very important factor and human resource departments played an important role in that test. There wasn't much involvement from intelligence agents. Overall, young men and women were evaluated based on their Russian language skills, education, health, and communication skills.

Afterwards, people were sent to learn more about the selected candidates from their colleagues and superiors. From what I heard, over 1,000 young people were tested without being told the purpose of the test. Among them, 40 people passed to the next stage. From then, the number of candidates was gradually reduced until the final two remained.

Numerous products, such as coins, carpets, candies, vodka, and leather jackets, were produced in 1981 in celebration of the first space flight by a Mongolian. Since then, many children were named Sansar or Sanchir. Can you tell us about the situation back then?

Our nation wanted to provide all the supplies needed for the first Mongolian representative to go on a space mission. They prepared so many things, starting from soup made of borts (dried meat), milk with sea buckhorn, candies, photographs, and portraits. Many new products went on sale after the space flight. I guess people needed all sorts of food to celebrate the occasion. Now, only a few of these items remain.

As time passes, some things are forgotten while new things are created. Space technologies and equipment for spacecraft is developing each day, but the most amazing thing is that there are still people who are capable of going on space missions. If it were possible, I'd like to take everyone on Earth to space and let them see our planet with their own eyes. It's quite strange because once you observe the Earth from a distance, you feel much more obliged to protect and love it, as well as to help create a more peaceful world.

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Culture & Society

Location of Chinggis Khaan's military stronghold Chinhai discovered

Ulaanbaatar, March 27 (MONTSAME) Location of Chinggis Khaan's military stronghold Chinhai, set up in 1212, has been found, a research team of Mongolia-Japan Joint Expedition Project 'Inscription' announced during a press conference on March 27, Monday.

The said stronghold's location has been determined to be in Sharga soum of Gobi-Altai aimag, namely a ruin named Khalzan Shireg; what's more, remains of a god statue dating back to the 13th century were unearthed at the site following an excavation conducted last September.

The 'Inscription' project has focused on the Khalzan Shireg site since 2001 to thus conclude that not only is the ruin a former military stronghold of Chinggis Khaan, but it also connected the east and west regions of Eurasia, and perhaps could have been a spiritual stronghold.

Launched in 1993, the 'Inscription' project is participated by researchers from Japanese Otani University and Ryukoku University, International Institute for the Study of Nomadic Civilizations and Mongolian University of Science and Technology.

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Nomadic ger innovated as puzzle game, seeking crowdfunding

March 27 (MONTSAME) Mongolian puzzle game manufacturer 'Taliin ezen' LLC created a puzzle version of Mongolian ger (Yurt).

Anyone who's been to Mongolia or is interested in the country can visit Indiegogo and get this ger in support of the project.

This innovative product allows a journey of mysterious nomadic culture. The product can make you feel the fondness of Mongolian blue sky, the vast steppe, the mountain range, the pristine nature, the wild wind, the charming smile and the hospitality of its people. The 11 times smaller version of Mongolian ger will not only introduce you to nomadic culture, but it will also benefit children's intellectual development as a form of puzzle game.

Holding centuries of nomadic legacy, this ger can be built and moved whenever and wherever you are in the world.

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Sanity Sunday- Music from Mongolia

March 26 (Nomadic Politics) This week's musical sanity break takes us far away from the dread-inspiring world of politics. And this is about as far away from that sordid mess as you can and remain on the planet. But, seriously, you all need a break.

It's been a hellish and nerve-racking week (It did, however, have a happy ending for almost everybody.)

In any event, nomads deserve nomadic music so I present to you, the music from Mongolia.

(VIDEO: Mongolian Music - Healing Soul Spirit Song)

I fell in love with these rousing songs by the band.

It is easy to see why it is said that music forms such an integral part of Mongolian culture. You will find an example- a mild example of throat-singing- in the second song of this clip.

(VIDEO: Mongolian music NAIR band)

And finally, there's this Mongolian orchestral music. Looking at the images of their land, I wondered what it would be like to live in such a bleak world without trees.

I am not sure if I could adapt but then Mongolians have had a quite a long time to get accustomed to a barren landscape, I guess.

(VIDEO: Mongolian Music "Mongolian Steppe Melody" HD)

I hope that you enjoyed the music and that it brings you a bit of peace.

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Growing up in Mongolia

BLACKFOOT, ID, March 27 (Morning News) An international flair was enjoyed by members of the Grove City Chapter of the Sons of Utah Pioneers at its monthly meeting.

Davaakhu and Kevin Smith were the featured speakers. Davaakhu was born and raised in Mongolia when the country was ruled by the Soviet Union when it was part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).

She described life in the harsh Mongolian climate—where it is not unusual for the temperature to stay well below zero for days on end. The harsh weather and the ruthlessness of their Russian rulers made life hard for her family.

For the complete story, read the Tuesday, March 28, edition of the Morning News.

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Nature & Environment

Mongolia government to intensify wildfire prevention measures

Ulaanbaatar, March 27 (MONTSAME) "The Ministry of Environment and Tourism is planning to work with local authorities on prevention from wildfire and raising awareness", remarked Deputy Minister Environment Ts.Batbayar at a recent meeting themed 'Some issues concerning prevention from wildfire and improvement of protective management – 2017' held at the Ministry.

Such measures are certainly necessary as a study indicates that 96 percent of wildfire in Mongolia are caused by human activities.

Nine years ago, a National Council was established to manage anti-wildfire actions, and the Friday meeting was a platform for the council and its sub-councils in aimags to exchange experience and information, and familiarize with the current situation surrounding wildfire in Mongolia.

Statistics indicate that 138 wildfires erupted in 61 soums of 14 aimags last year, causing damage worth MNT 10.7 billion, and more seriously the loss of four lives. Compared to 2016, the report shows 2.5 times higher number of wildfire cases.

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Sports

D. Zagdsuren reelected as President of Mongolian National Olympic Committee

Ulaanbaatar, March 27 (MONTSAME) On March 24, the 7th forum of the Mongolian National Olympic Committee (MonNOC) was held at Shangri-La Hotel in Ulaanbaatar to discuss reports of the last 4-year plan and the appointment of the next President of the Committee.

During the meeting, management team to work for the next 4 years was selected as well.

There were 146 representatives out of 167 voted in an election of the President of the Mongolian National Olympic Committee (MonNOC). A total of 7 people was announced as candidates for the President. However, 4 of them, including Ya.Batsuuri, President of Ankle bone shooting Association, Ch.Zorigtbaatar, General Secretary of Mongolian Athletic Federation, L.Khaltar, President of Mongolian Gymnastics Federation and Ch.Bat-erdene, General Secretary of Mongolian Draughts Federation withdrew from election respectively, leaving only 3 candidates.

In the election, Committee's current president D.Zagdsuren was re-elected as the President of the MonNOC with 81 votes.

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Mongolia wins four bronze medals at Sambo World Cup 2017

Ulaanbaatar, March 27 (MONTSAME) The Sambo World Cup 2017 took place in Moscow, Russia on March 24-26 and 300 athletes from 29 countries participated in the competition. Mongolian athletes were trained by coach J.Bayarsaikhan and successfully competed in the tournament.

In particular, G.Munkhbat, wrestler of "Aldar" sport team won bronze medal in the 57 kg category and P.Tseden-Ish took bronze medal in the category of up to 62 kg, B.Temujin, student of Military University of Moscow won bronze medal in the category of 90kg and G.Gantulga took bronze medal as well in the category of +100 kg respectively.

During the Sambo World Cup 2017, an international referee training was held and Mongolian Merit Athlete Kh.Batkhishig, coach J.Bayarsaikhan and International Master of Sports D.Ganzorig were successfully attended. 

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Opening ceremony held for 4th Universiade

Ulaanbaatar, March 28 /MONTSAME/ An opening ceremony was held on March 27, Monday at Central Sports Palace for Universiade - 2017 national multi-sport event of university athletes which is currently taking place.

Since 2005, the Universiade has been organized every four years in 14-18 types of sports, uniting more than 70 thousand students, and the 4th Universiade is garnering Mongolian university athletes to compete in 12 types of sports this year.

As of the opening ceremony, freestyle wrestling, volleyball, ski and judo competitions had concluded, and the volleyball winners were presented with their medals during the ceremony.

In April, chess, table tennis, handball and aerobics competitions will take place at different venues. More competitions on woodball and athletics are to take place in May when the Universiade will also conclude with a closing ceremony.

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Art & Entertainment

Citizen Kane and The Eagle Huntress in Oshawa, Ajax

Classic film, acclaimed documentary screened

DURHAM, March 27 (Ajax News Advertiser) — It's been called the greatest film ever made.

Director Orson Welles hit a home run, a grand slam, with his first movie, 1941's Citizen Kane. The consensus is that it's largely based on American newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst. Brilliant pacing and the use of flashbacks and deep focus make it a film for the ages.

An extraordinary and true story is up next at the Ajax Film Circuit.

The Eagle Huntress is the 2016 tale of Aisholpan, a 13-year-old Kazakh girl from Mongolia aiming to become the first female hunter to compete in a Mongolian eagle festival. Aisholpan comes from a long line of eagle hunters and, with the help of her father, she eventually enters and wins the competition.

The film has a 7 p.m. start on April 7. Tickets are $10 each, available at the St. Francis Centre Box Office, the Ajax and McLean community centres, and the Audley Recreation Centre. You can also get tickets online at www.stfranciscentre.ca.

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Travel

Russian government advises its citizens not to shout loudly and get drunk in Mongolia

The Russian government has produced cultural sensitivity guidelines for its citizens travelling abroad, including curbing homophobic behaviour

March 27 (The Independent) What not to say to gay people in France, where to sit on a Swedish bus, and items not to be taken into a Mongolian yurt: Russian tourists now have an online briefing on cultural sensitivity abroad. 

The Foreign Ministry in Moscow has published some General Elements of Behaviour to help Russians avoid "undesirable incidents" abroad — as well as country-specific advice, which is particularly focused less-than-enlightened attitudes.

In Mongolia, "It is not appropriate to loudly shout and get drunk". Crucially, though, for anyone visiting the locals in rural areas: "Earthmoving tools introduced into a yurt are a bad omen".

In 2013, Chinese tourists were provided with a Guidebook to Civilised Tourism, instructing travellers not to pick their noses in public, to keep their nose-hair neatly trimmed and never to use their fingers to pick their teeth.

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