The desert is overtaking Inner Mongolia


In Inner Mongolia, trees are being planted to stop the march of the desert.

AS a child growing up in Inner Mongolia, Han Yu was surrounded by breathtaking nature. “The scenery was beautiful. There were lots of trees. Even though you can see sand dunes, there were still different trees fronting the dunes,” says the farmer, now 54.

Today, the landscape could not be more different. The views of galloping horses and moving herds in rolling grass meadows are long gone, replaced by barren sandy plains. Yu bears witness to the sea of sand washing over his farm, and those of his neighbours: “In the 1960s and 70s, we had to increase food production to feed the population so trees were felled and the grassland slowly diminished. By the mid-80s, we began to see the desert expanding.”

The sand dunes of central Asia are marching outwards unrelentingly. In Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, a third of the land now lay wasted. China’s third largest province, it is fighting severe desertification, much like the provinces of Xinjiang, Gansu, Qinghai, Ningxia, Shaanxi, Heilongjiang and Hebei. Over-grazing, expanding farms and population pressure, coupled with drought and the freezing and thawing of iced soil, have steadily turned once fertile grasslands into sandy plains.
In a 2006 report to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, China declared that 2.63 million sqkm – 27% of its land – is covered by desert, compared with 18% in 1994. Its grasslands have shrunk by 15,000sqkm annually since the early 1980s. The loss of land and ensuing economic activities is costing the country US$6.5bil (RM22.7bil) annually. As farmers abandon parched lands, rural poverty has worsened.

And each spring, dust and sand are whipped up by the winds to form the “Yellow Dragon”, a choking cloud that engulfs China’s northern cities, causing respiratory and eye infections among millions. As the sandstorm drifts along, it binds with pollutants from factories and coal plants, creating a toxic plume that spreads as far as North and South Korea, Japan and even North America.

Stopping the advancing sand

Aware of the ramifications of failing to act, China has adopted measures – such as reforestation, resettling nomadic Mongolians from their traditional grasslands to towns and restricting grazing areas – to stop the land degradation.

To enable the denuded land to heal, the government has zoned farming areas and introduced seasonal grazing: cattle and sheep from March to mid-June and only cattle in the other months. Farmers are also taught more efficient farming methods, and this has raised corn yields from 300 to 400kg per mu to between 500 and 1,000kg. (One mu is 675sqm)

“If they can enjoy the benefit of better yields, they will not open up land illegally. The farmers obey the rules on grazing and farming areas as they can get government assistance such as free fertiliser. Those who contravene the rules face fines,” explains Batole, head of the forestry division of Tongliao province in Inner Mongolia.

Meanwhile, a reward scheme encourages tree-planting. A farmer who keeps the forest on his land intact will receive Y10 (RM5) per mu. He also gets saplings for replanting. If he clears the forest, he gets a fine.

Batole, who like most Mongolians go by one name, says the efforts have shown result as tree cover in Horqin was 18% in 2008 (the latest available figures) compared with 12% in 2001. He believes that the barrier of trees has somewhat curbed sandstorms, with only one hitting the region this year and none last year. But as the areas affected by sandstorms are widespread, he says other areas still suffer from it.

But not all the steps to combat desertification have found support. The forced removal of nomadic tribes from their traditional pastures to reduce over-grazing, remains controversial. Opponents of the government’s plan say herders who have grazed the grasslands for centuries are key to solving the problem, and should not be blamed for spreading deserts.

They say much of the desertification is a result of over-grazing by new farmers from the Han Chinese ethnic majority, who poured into Inner Mongolia to raise goats when the cashmere industry became lucrative in the 1980s. This had allowed China to export millions of cheap cashmere sweaters to Western consumers.

The US-based Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Centre group said the resettlement of herders has endangered the very existence of the Mongolians. Those who resisted the relocation had been arrested, detained or assaulted.
Green support

Tree-planting, being easy to do and non-controversial, has become the most ambitious effort to halt the spread of the desert. The state television CCTV reported that by the end of 2009, China had reached its goal of a 20% tree cover. And late last year, President Hu Jintao committed to add 40 million hectares of trees by 2020.

Supporting the government’s reforestation efforts are numerous non-governmental groups. One group working hard at stemming the advancing sand is Japan-based Green Network. Over the past decade, with funding from universities, volunteer groups and companies such as Timberland, it has been greening Inner Mongolia’s Horqin desert that is tucked away in the north-east region of China, the area once known as Manchuria.

“Up until 30 years ago, fertile grassland spread out from here and the area was called the Horqin field,” explains its executive director, Yoshio Kitaura.

“However, due to excessive grazing and cultivation, the soil became impoverished and the area is now known as Horqin desert. In the 60 years after the establishment of the Republic of China, the population increased four-fold and livestock such as goats and sheep amazingly, increased about 300 times. So the people are forced to live while depending on disorganised grazing and cultivation which is the cause of the desertification even now.”

Kitaura says Horqin desert is one of the fastest expanding deserts in China, growing by six million hectares annually. It now sprawls over 42,300sqkm – as big as Switzerland. With its eight permanent staff and 15 part-timers – all locals – the group has greened 1,850ha so far. The tree-planting endeavour has proven infectious: even locals do it on their own accord, supported with seedlings from Green Network.

“This land was once open forest, so it is not impossible to return it to its original state by changing the way the people lived which was what caused the desertification, such as the excessive grazing and cultivation, together with adequate efforts of greening,” says Kitaura.

He is all too aware that tree-planting merely addresses a symptom, not the root cause of the expanding desert, which is overpopulation and unsustainable agriculture. Thus his team also advises locals on wiser landuse and farming methods. In the works is a scheme that encourages villagers to grow corn for food rather than animal feed, as the more lucrative prices will mean less land needs to be cultivated.

Of course, farms still encroach into restricted zones as the vast spread of the land hampers governmental policing but Kitaura is hopeful of a transformation as villagers have grown mindful of their harmful activities.

As attests by the farmer, Yu: “As more companies and groups come here to plant trees, we have become more aware. We now realise the seriousness of the problem. We didn’t know better before. If we knew, we wouldn’t have over-grazed or cut trees for fuel.”

With proper guidance, there is hope yet for the land to flourish again.

Source: (the Malaysian Newspaper "Star")


Mongolia reports outbreak of bird disease "Newcastle"

ULAN BATOR, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- Mongolian State Emergency Commission on Monday announced an outbreak of contagious bird disease "Newcastle," the first time in the country's history.

The outbreak occurred at a commercial chicken farm in the Ulan Bator region. Chicken death was reported at the farm 10 days ago and experts confirmed the outbreak, tentatively concluding the disease was transmitted from chicken feed.

So far about 50 chicken on the farm have died. A total of 1,600 eggs will be confiscated and destroyed, 4,847 chicken be slaughtered and the farm is to be disinfected, according to a decree of the State Emergency Commission.

There are a total of about 270,000 chicken in chicken farms of the Ulan Bator region. Currently, quarantine has been imposed in all chicken farms and mobile patrols have been set up around the area.

Source:Xinhua News Service of China

Japan eager to tap natural resources in Mongolia


Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada stressed Japan’s strong eagerness to tap natural resources in Mongolia, such as copper, coal and uranium, in a meeting Monday with his Mongolian counterpart Gombojav Zandanshatar, Japanese officials said.

Okada, who met Zandanshatar in Tokyo in late July, told the Mongolian foreign and trade minister that Japanese firms are keen to take part in developing resources such as the Tavan Tolgoi coal mine believed to have the world’s largest coal reserves. Zandanshatar said Mongolia would work to establish a good investment environment for Japanese firms, according to the officials.

Source:Kyodo News service

EAD supports wild Saker Falcon nesting project in Mongolia

WAM Abu Dhabi, August 29th, 2010 (WAM) -- The Environment Agency- Abu Dhabi (EAD) is working on an innovative project with the Ministry of Nature, Environment and Tourism (MNET) in Mongolia on an artificial nesting programme aimed at increasing the wild Saker falcon population.
The process of placing 5,000 artificial nests has begun, all of which are predicted to provide nesting sites for up to 500 pairs of Sakers by the year 2015.
This project is being funded by the Environment Agency- Abu Dhabi (EAD), and resourced by International Wildlife Consultants (IWC) and their Mongolian partner, the Wildlife Science and Conservation Center (WSCC).
Since October 2009, a team of students and 16 workers in Mongolia have been constructing and placing nests in 20 different areas throughout the country. By the end of October 2010, 5,000 artificial nests will be placed within a 25,000km area, with each nest lying 1.5km apart.
"EAD is leading global efforts to save one of the world's most endangered falcons whose population has dwindled globally to a mere 2000-5000 pairs. This innovative project with Mongolia's MNET will result in a significant rise in the species' population. Together with commitment from the Mongolian government, we are achieving our common vision of preserving this endangered species and important symbol of Emirati heritage," said Majid Al Mansouri, Secretary General of EAD.

Locally known as Hurr, meaning free, this species is the second largest falcon in the world and one of the toughest. They are the most well suited falcon to Arab Falconry due to their adaptability to desert climates and their resilience. Their willingness to engage in ground combat with their prey makes for a fierce and reliable hunter.
Several of the artificial nests placed has even been fitted with a nest camera which records continuously, with the aim of establishing how many Brandt's Voles and Mongolia Gerbils are eaten by Saker falcons and their young. This information could be given to herdsmen so they can see for themselves how the increased numbers of birds of prey can improve the degraded Mongolian Steppe.
Molecular evidence indicates that the Saker Falcon is very closely related to the Gyr falcon and that these species probably diverged from a common ancestor 130 to 200 thousand years ago. The Saker Falcon is predominantly a bird of open landscapes, occupying a diverse range of habitats from agricultural land, steppe, deserts and semi-deserts and mountains. Saker Falcons are the most commonly used raptor by Arab falconers.

Source:The Emirates News Agency, WAM, (Wakalat Anba'a al-Emarat)

Mongolian Cabinet holds meeting in Gobi desert


GASHUUNII KHOOLOI, Mongolia — Top Mongolian officials donned dark green baseball caps reading "Save our planet" and set up chairs and tables in the sands of the Gobi desert for a Cabinet meeting aimed at drawing attention to climate change.

The meeting of 12 government ministers was held in scorching heat Friday in Gashuunii Khooloi, a sandy valley in South Gobi province, about 415 miles (670 kilometers) south of Ulan-Bator, the country's capital.

The ministers, dressed in suits and ties, arrived in the desert in jeeps after a 15-hour journey. Officials planted a Mongolian flag in the ground, set up long tables and chairs in the fine, golden sand and discussed climate change against the backdrop of a vast expanse of desert and a bright blue sky.

"Mongolia is feeling the impact of global climate change," Prime Minister Batbold Sukhbaatar said at the one-hour meeting.

Batbold pointed to the recent winter as an example of problems Mongolia faces. The winter was the harshest in decades and a fifth of the country's livestock died.

The government blames global warming for a decrease in rainfall and says that rising average temperatures have caused many rivers and springs to dry up and snow cover to melt. It also says the frequency of natural disasters and drought has jumped.

The site for the meeting was chosen because parts of it used to be arable land, said Badarch, head of social policy for South Gobi province, who like some Mongolians uses only one name.

"Five years ago, there used to grow many edible plants in this valley and there were fewer sand dunes. Now look here," he said. "The valley is completely covered with sand. The sand dunes are moving and taking more space each year."

Minister of Natural Environment and Tourism Gansukh Luumed said Mongolian herders' traditional way of life is under threat. "Global climate change accelerates the desertification process in Mongolia. Currently, 70 percent of Mongolian land is affected by desertification."

In December, Nepalese officials held a Cabinet meeting at Mount Everest to highlight the danger global warming poses to glaciers. It followed an underwater Cabinet meeting in the Maldives in October to underline the threat of rising sea levels.

The government said it hoped that delegates attending global climate talks in Cancun, Mexico, in November would reach a decision that is "favorable for landlocked, developing countries ... very much affected by climate change and desertification."

Source:AP News Service

Mongolian Mining Said to Win Approval for Nation's First IPO in Hong Kong

Mongolian Mining Corp. received approval from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange for a $1 billion initial public offering, the first by a Mongolian company in the territory, according to two people familiar with the IPO.

Mongolian Mining, formerly known as Energy Resources, plans to list as much as 25 percent of its freely traded shares after the initial sale, said the people, who declined to be identified because the information is not yet public.

No companies based in Mongolia are currently listed in Hong Kong, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The IPO would come after Moscow-based United Co. Rusal in January became the first Russian company to go public in the territory, where Ernst & Young LLP projects IPOs will reach a record.

“Hong Kong has ambitions to, over time, become a world financial center with diverse listings,” said Lei Wang, who helps oversee more than $56 billion at Thornburg Investment Management in Santa Fe, New Mexico. “The money in Hong Kong is looking for alternatives to Chinese stocks to allow them to diversify, and there’s a lot of liquidity there looking for returns.”

Mongolia plans to privatize state-owned assets in initial share sales in local and international stock markets such as Hong Kong, Dulam Sugar, chairman of the Government of Mongolia’s State Property Committee, said on June 15.

Landlocked Nation

The landlocked country between China and Russia is seeking investors to help fund a national development strategy to grow its economy by 14 percent between 2007 and 2015, which would more than double gross domestic product per capita for the nation’s 2.7 million people to $5,000 from the current $1,900.

Mongolian Mining’s shares may begin trading in early October. New York-based JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. are the bookrunners for the IPO, according to the people.

Initial sales in Hong Kong have raised HK$145.4 billion ($18.7 billion) so far in 2010, more than the same period in 2007, Bloomberg data show. Offerings may reach a record HK$370 billion this year, according to accounting firm Ernst & Young.

American International Group Inc., the New York-based insurer preparing an initial offering of its Asian unit on the Hong Kong exchange in November, dropped a plan to sell a portion of AIA Group Ltd. before the IPO, two people with knowledge of the matter said today. Potential buyers failed to show how they would finance the purchase of as much as 30 percent of the unit, according to the people, who declined to be identified because the talks were private.

To contact the reporters on this story: Zijing Wu in London at; Lee Spears in New York at

Source:Bloomberg News Service

Mongolia Permits Foreign Tourists To Cross Country To China

BARNAUL (Russia), Aug 26 (Bernama) -- For the first time Mongolia permits foreign tourists to cross the country to China with the opening of an international border-crossing station in Khovd, reports Russia's Itar-Tass news agency.

Previously only citizens of China and Mongolia could cross the border.

"Mongolia has taken the measure in the pilot mode. The border checkpoint will operate in the international mode starting from the end of this tourism season," chief of the department for international and interregional relations of the Altai Territory Alexander Zhilin told Itar-Tass on Thursday.

The Altai Territory is one of the parties that initiated this project.

In the previous year at a meeting of the international coordination council "Altai - Our Common House", which brings together Russia, China, Kazakhstan and Mongolia, the territorial authorities raised the problem on the restricted access to the extreme tourism route "Altai - Golden Mountains".

The tourism route runs through four countries and had gained popularity among European travellers.

However, numerous administrative barriers hamper travelling on this tourist route.

Source: BERNAMA, Malaysian news agency

Convicted man’s father says he made a mistake but committed no crime

D.Tsakhilgaan, a former ambassador to China and father of Ts.Jargalsaikhan, who was recently sentenced to 17 years in prison for passing State secrets, said at a press conference on Wedenesday that the sentence was too harsh and would very badly affect the country’s foreign relations. The convicted man worked in Parliament’s Office.

“My son was given 17 years in prison according to Article 79 of the Criminal Law for betraying his country. That article deals with people who join a foreign country’s intelligence organization to harm Mongolian sovereignty, national security and defense operations, or cooperate with foreign organization that operate against Mongolia, or defect to the enemy side during war. What organization did my son join? Which intelligence organization had enrolled him? Is Russia an enemy? I demand an explanation. The material he was blamed for giving to others included the plan of a visit and the text of a speech. Russia and Mongolia are friendly neighbors. Exchanging the text of speeches is common for friendly nations. There was nothing about mining, uranium and minerals in the material, as people have been saying. Parliament’s foreign relations department does not negotiate any agreements. My son is a victim of miscarriage of justice. We will appeal against the decision of the preliminary court. I shall also address the heads of Government of the three countries involved. This case may even cause damage to the foreign relationships of Mongolia. Some of my friends want to go on hunger strike if the court does not make the right decision.”

He then answered questions.

What are the charges against him?

One was that he gave to a Russian diplomat on June 3 material on a meeting between the Chinese and Mongolian Prime Ministers. The meeting had been held on June 1 and detailed information was already available. Then he was charged with giving information about the meeting between the Mongolian and Russian Prime Ministers that was canceled. He was also charged with passing the program of the visit of Parliament Speaker D.Demberel to Russia to meet officials.

Why do you think your son is the victim of an organized crime group?

He is my only son and is being sacrificed. It is strange that the Russian side is not giving its side of the matter. Rumors are circulating that he passed information to China, which is entirely false because China has nothing to do with it. Why is suck talk being spread? My son was being spied on since November. Why then did the intelligence organization not prevent the alleged crime?

What relations does your son have with the Russian man who is connected here?

They were friends. The Russian’s father was a diplomat who had worked in Mongolia for ten years. He approached my son saying, “Our fathers are friends.” He used to write research articles about Mongolia and Russia and my son helped him by translating some things. It is being said that he was paid for the translation, that the wife of the Russian presented a necklace to Jargalsaikhan’s wife, that. Jargalsaikhan bought a cell phone with two sim cards, using one sim for his secret work. They even brought out USD 400 from his safe as evidence against him. But that money he had got by selling his phone to pay the tuition of his child.

Do you think your son is innocent? Or do you just think his punishment was too harsh?

I will not say that my son is totally blameless. Everybody makes mistakes. But his mistake was an error of judgment and not a betrayal of his country’s interest. He can be punished for his mistakes but they were violation of government service rules, and not crimes.

Mongolia: Encouraging a better educated tomorrow

Even small schools in rural Mongolia are equipped with computer labs thanks to the ‘Fast Track’ Program
To combat the growing literacy problem, the Government of Mongolia introduced a number of strategies to improve the countrys education system. These include the World Bank funded Rural Education and Development (READ) Project and the Education for all Fast Track Initiative

* READ has been able to supply more than 3800 rural primary school classrooms with new libraries and books.
* More than 4500 primary school teachers have received training in updated teaching skills.
* The Fast Track Initiative began in 2002 and was developed to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of Universal Primary Education by 2015.

ULAANBAATAR, July 29, 2010– Ms. Sainbayar has been working as a primary school teacher for the past 20 years in rural Mongolia. The school where she works is in a small town called Bogd. The majority of families who send their children to Ms. Sainbayar’s school are very poor; many are herders, making a living off the land and from their livestock. In the mornings, groups of children walk quickly towards the front steps of the school, desperate to feel the warmth of the classrooms. As they run up the front stairs, girls are arm in arm chatting loudly and the boys walk with their hands placed deeply inside their warm pockets.

Vapor emanates from their mouths with every exhaled breath or spoken word as they walked in some of the coldest conditions experienced in the world. Some of the students walk long distances to school and through freezing temperatures during the winter months. As it gets colder, children are clad in colorful down jackets reaching the knee. They wear boots lined with fur or wool and long scarves, sheep’s wool gloves and beanies to keep them warm; faces barely visible behind furlined jacket hoods.
Inside basic classrooms, children sit on wooden chairs behind light green wooden desks. Ms. Sainbayar gently paces in front of her students reading from a large book and the colorful posters and counting charts adorning the walls create an inviting learning space.
Following the introduction of government-run projects aimed at improving the county’s education system, Ms. Sainbayar has been able to offer a better quality education to all of her students. She is very pleased with the improvements at her school, especially considering the long distances some of her students travel for an education.
During the Soviet period, from 1924 until 1990, Mongolia achieved a 100 per cent literacy rate. However, the transition from a communist country to a market economy in the early 1990s had a drastic impact of the country’s literacy rate. Enrollments declined rapidly. Over the last 20 years, there have been many children especially in the countryside who have not attended primary or secondary school at all. To combat this growing problem, the Government of Mongolia introduced a number of strategies to improve the country’s education system. These strategies include the World Bank funded Rural Education and Development (READ) Project and the “Education for all” Fast Track Initiative. Rural areas are a key target group for both strategies. Through the READ project, Ms. Sainbayar has been provided with a range of facilities to assist in the improved education of students namely a new classroom library. According to Ms. Sainbayar, the new library is helping students improve their reading skills both at school and at home, as children are able to take books home with them.
“When the library was established my fellow teachers and I were trained on how to successfully incorporate the library into our teaching methods. It was really very helpful. “The library has helped the students improve their reading skills.
Also when the students use the library they are able to grade their own big book and this promotes oral and written skills. I’m very pleased that the participation of parents has also improved,” said Ms. Sainbayar.
The READ project was first implemented in Mongolia in August 2006. The project aims to support rural schools by increasing the amount and improving the quality of learning materials in schools. Teacher training is also available alongside the introduction of new materials.
Within READ’s first year, libraries were established in all rural schools in 11 aimags and hundreds of teachers received training. The books included in the classroom libraries were chosen through a competitive process, one that reviewed over 900 manuscripts. Mongolia’s primary schools are receiving further improvements through the “Education for All” Fast Track Initiative. Mongolia was accepted into the Fast Track Initiative in September 2006. This initiative has resulted in the investment of $29.4 million into Mongolia’s education system, with the aim to improve the access and quality of basic education for all children in Mongolia.
According to Oyunerdene, the General Manager of Bogd Soum School, the fast track initiative has provided schools in the soum with laptops and monitors. This has in turn increased the computer skills and knowledge of students and teachers. Funds have also gone toward renovating school ceilings, doors, windows and heating systems. “Before the renovations, the school roof was old and we had water inside the school when it snowed. It was very, very uncomfortable,” said
source: The Mongol Messenger

German Economic Minister’s first visit in 19 years

Dr. Dirk Niebel tells PM S.Batbold the FRG is significantly increasing its aid to Mongolia
From August 19 to August 23, 2010, a German delegation led by Dr. Dirk Niebel, the Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), paid an official visit to Mongolia by invitation of Finance Minister S. Bayartsogt. The German Minister was accompanied by about 30 representatives including ministry officials, members of the Bundestag and media. It was the first to Mongolia in 19 years by a German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, and it is considered a significant visit to boost further economic cooperation of two countries. In 1991, Germany’s Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development visited Mongolia for the first time. On August 19, after meeting with his Mongolian counterpart, S. Bayartsogt, Dr. Niebel met with Prime Minister S. Batbold. The Prime Minister said Mongolia aims to use its natural resources in proper ways by producing value-added products instead of exporting raw minerals, and noted the importance of assistance and support from the FRG to develop accountable mining and build capacity. He said, “We are aspiring to introduce standards of the European Union into all spheres to improve governance and create transparent, open, just, accountable, and sustainable environment. Mr. Batbold emphasized that the FRG is one of the countries that rendered support to Mongolia during its democratic reform, and noted that Mongolia-Germany relations and cooperation have reached the level of comprehensive partnership.
“At this time when mineral deposits are being put into economic circulation, we need the support and assistance of FRG in the sectors of economy, finance and technology, having state-of-the-art techniques and technologies and training personnel,” Mr. Batbold stressed. He said that he hoped Germany’s Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development would contribute significantly to this matter.
He also said that the countries have an opportunity to develop cooperation of inter-civilian relations, in the spheres of humanity, culture, and tourism through some 35 thousand Mongolian alumni of German Universities and institutes.

In turn, Dr. Niebel thanked the PM for successful implementation of extractive industries’ transparency in Mongolia and informed him that the Ministry has decided to increase rendering aid to Mongolia by EUR 3 million.
The German side considers that Mongolia may spend this money on improving the governance of mining companies, training personnel, producing value-added products as well as developing small and middlesized productions and small mines. Dr. Niebel said he hopes Mongolia can succeed in its development with new and good policy. Later, a press conference was hosted by Finance Minister S. Bayartsogt and German Minister Dr. Dirk Niebel at the State House. At the press conference, it was also announced that the German side decided to increase its assistance worth 24.1 million EUR agreed last May by 3 million EUR. The assistance will be spent on improving governance, training personnel, producing value-added products and developing small and medium sized productions, introducing EU standards and developing extractive industries’ transparency. It is believed that these would all encourage the reduction of poverty, create jobs and increase earnings for lives.
In frames of the official visit by Dr. Dirk Niebel, a meeting of representatives of civil societies of the two countries was organized by the Hanns Seidel Foundation, the German Embassy, Konrad Adenauer Foundation and Friedrich Ebert Foundation.
During his visit, German delegation headed by Mr. Dirk Niebel got au fait with the activity of Boroo Gold Company in Bayangol soum of Selenge Aimag.
On August 22, the German delegation led by Dr. Dirk Niebel, the Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development of the Federal Republic of Germany visited Amarbayasgalant Monastery and got familiar with operations of the Thermo Power Station and the process of a regional economic development project in Darkhan-Uul Aimag. He also visited a ger area of Darkhan where he met with a person who received a loan from the project. On August 23, Dr. Niebel met with Minerals and Energy Minister D. Zorigt to share views of bilateral relations and cooperation. He also presented medical equipment and apparatus to the Maternal and Infant Health Center before concluding his visit in Mongolia

Police and youth injured in scuffle with Chinese workers

This week, daily newspapers published stories about an offense that happened on August 21 where Chinese workers who were constructing the central laboratory of Specialized Inspections Office in the Khan- Uul District assaulted and injured Mongolian policemen.
On August 25, Undesnii Shuudan Daily published that over 30 Chinese who beat policemen and youth of the ‘Dayar Mongol’ movement were returned to their home country. However, six of the Chinese are being investigated for seriously injuring the policemen. A criminal proceeding has been initiated against them on the grounds that they assaulted and seriously injured policemen. In its August 25 issue, Zuunii Medee Daily published an interview with two members of the Dayar Mongol movement who claimed to have been beaten by the Chinese.

Two members of the movement are now receiving treatment at the Trauma Hospital due to serious injuries. They said the fighting occurred inside a Shoes Factory yard in the Khan-Uul District. A man named ‘M’ said, “I can’t get up and have head injuries due to being hit with a spade.” To the question of why the fighting occurred, he said, “After hearing about the Chinese beating Mongolian policemen, we went to there to hear about the cause. However, they seemed prepared for it and many Chinese suddenly attacked us with iron pipes and spades. There were only eight of us. They attacked us without any talk. We felt the situation and tried to run away; however the yard was locked. We were unable to protest because of being outnumbered. I was in shock and unconscious for a while. At that moment they might think I had died and left, but after few minutes I awoke and when I tried to get up they beat me again. I was not aware of where my other friends were.
On August 25, Ardyn Erkh Daily wrote that on August 21, B. Bat-Erdene and B. Batzorig, security workers of Sky Hypermarket in the Khan-Uul District called police and said they were beaten by Chinese construction workers. When policemen went to the site, the Chinese injured two of the policemen by protesting their demand and beating them with iron pipe, stones and other instruments. Currently, the injured policemen are undergoing treatment at a special hospital for State service employees. source: The Mongol Messenger. newspaper

Improvements for schools, lunches and academics underway

Teachers and students assemble for the first day of the new school year
Few days remain until the start of a new academic year. According to statistics, it is expected that 50,300 children will newly enter primary schools this year. More than 523,000 children attend 753 schools nationwide. There are about 540,000 children going to 809 kindergartens, where 25,900 teachers teach in grade schools and 4,200 at kindergartens. Although the country is still in an crisis, investment was increased for the educational sector. Construction of a total of 55 buildings including 30 new kindergartens and 12 schools, 7 dormitories and 6 sport halls are underway. For this academic year, 18 kinds of textbooks have been published at printing companies which established a specific agreement with the government and currently textbooks for 1st grade have already been distributed to schools. Publication and distribution of textbooks of other grades will be succeeded before September 1.

D. Erdenechimeg, chief of General Educations Department at the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sciences, said, “As in previous years, textbooks of primary education will be distributed free of charge while 40 percent of textbooks for secondary and high school children will be provided with government help. This means that textbooks are supposed to be given to half and full orphans, children of single parent families, disabled children and children of poor families free of charge.” To a question by MONTSAME Agency’s reporter about how the nationwide ‘Lunch’ program will be implemented this year because many children were poisoned from school lunches and it was on focus of much criticism last year. Mr. Erdenechimeg answered, “We are going to submit a proposal to the government for ensuring food safety and how to implement the Lunch Program. One of the important goals of the new academic year is to pay special attention to ensuring food safety and strict compliance of standards of safety service. From this year, we plan to transfer the Lunch Program into a lunch service stage by stage. For this, government set a policy goal to introduce services of unified food factories with highly safe new technology in Ulaanbaatar, Erdenet and Darkhan cities. For rural schools, meals will be produced in the school cafeterias.” “A transitional process into 12- year educational system will continue this year. A feature of this academic year is to begin standard reforms to develop current standards of general educational school in meeting with Cambridge international general education program. We intend to launch operation of first model laboratory school at which the new standard will be experimented. A main purpose is that every teacher should focus on organizing quality teaching for every class, be well-organized for each class, as well as to improve the quality of every class,” said Mr. Erdenechimeg. “Moreover, we have more work planned that includes a new regulation to assess knowledge and ability in schools. Overall, it will direct to encourage enthusiasm of primary school children to study. Judgment marks must not be a thing to punish children; therefore the assessment principle will be modified,” he said.
source: The Mongol Messenger newspaper

Increase in education costs trouble citizens

Back in the State House, PM S.Batbold discusses tuition increases with Education Minister Yo. Otgonbayar
When the PM worked in the countryside, people’s interest in educational fees and payments were the key issue which most found disturbing.
On August 19, the Cabinet discussed implementation of the PM’s working plan in the countryside and produced a definite decision on the issue. For example, it was decided to complete the tuition fee in the first half of the 2010-2011 academic year; September 1 to December 31 The payment taken as a loan from the state academic fund will be resolved during this period. Yo.Otgonbayar, the Minister of education, science and culture was instructed to implement this task in due time and
without delay. Yo. Otgonbayar and S.Bayartsogt, Finance Minister were instructed to find ways to adjust the required part of the tuition fees from the Human development Fund of next year’s budget. The price increase on stationeries and textbooks was another question related to tuition fees. The PM criticized the groundless increase of the price on school stationery and textbooks by business people, although the currency exchange was low.

He instructed Yo.Otbonbayar to take the question under his control. PM S.Batbold reminded them not to let the tuition fees of higher educational establishments to exceed the average inflation rate and that this principle must be strictly followed in State-owned universities and institutes. He asked them to fulfill his instructions without causing problems for the citizens. Another question raised to the PM during his countryside trip was the employment issue. The training and preparing of 3,200 Mongolians at the vocational education and production centers to be employed at the Oyutolgoi deposit was instructed. Yo.Otgonbayar, Minister of education, science and culture said that in accordance with the government decision to make the payment for September–December, the ministry sent statements to relevant educational establishments. He said the ministry is working hard because almost 100,000 students have been registered to study in the higher educational establishments. “Not all higher educational establishments sent reports on their tuition fees”, said Otgonbayar. He promised not to let the tuition fees to exceed the average inflation level and find explanations if there are such price increases. “The school textbooks”, said the minister, “will be sold at last year’s price.” The minister said that he will report back when the 3,200 workforce, to be employed at the Oyutolgoi deposit, will be trained at the vocational training and educational centers, and that human factors, the dedication to work, and professional quality will be taken under consideration. In other words, the workforce will be tested and the mining branch of the national council for vocational education and production is organizing for employment of the trained national personnel to work in other companies. The training of the workforce will be implemented by a definite quota provided from the aimag regions and the city districts. The PM S.Batbold requested that people are provided with the right information and organize all this work in an open and transparent way.
source: The Mongol Messenger newspaper

Tripartite meeting hints at wheat price of MNT350,000 per ton

Wheat farmers, flour manufacturers and ministry representatives have held talks to decide on prices. The meeting was marked by different perceptions and conflicting data. Growers and manufacturers were generally agreeable to MNT350,000 per ton as the post-harvest price. R.Sodkhuu, head of a union of cultivators, said this would cover all production costs.

The farmers will get some more money as incentive from the Government. Last year this was MNT60,000 per ton, and farmers are hoping for more this year. Directors of cultivating companies also want the incentive to cover wheat grown for animal feed, and not just for what is consumed by humans and used to make flour.

The Ministry representatives did not make any commitment. Incidentally, the Government last year bought wheat for MNT330,000 per ton, including the incentive, but is now selling it to some companies for MNT220,000. Of course it is the people who ultimately bear the loss.

State Secretary at the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry T.Gantulga said wheat stocks now stand at 112,400 tons, enough for four months. Manufacturers dispute this, saying only 70 percent of this wheat can be made into flour.

Gantulga said 26,000 tons of wheat from the State reserve will be distributed among five companies. Khangai will get 6,000 tons, while Mill House, Ulaanbaatar, Saikhan Khuns, and Tavan Nuur will each get 5,000 tons.

Does this mean the reserved stocks will be released little by little? Altogether 160 tons of flour is sold daily through 13 outlets in Ulaanbaatar. This is not even one-fourth of the daily consumption according to Government figures.

Former Prime Minister and former Minister for Food and Agriculture Sh.Gungaadorj has said cultivators must prepare the wheat seeds themselves. Unless it is some special sort of seed, he sees no reason for the Ministry to be involved in the work.

Flour manufacturers said they needed better quality wheat while the growers worried about their problems of transportation.

If wheat sells for MNT350,000 per ton, the price of flour would reach MNT650 per kilo or 30-40 percent more than the MNT480 set by the government.

In Mongolia, the Horse-Headed Fiddle Rides Again

The Tumen Ekh folk dance and music ensemble in 2006.
ULAN BATOR, MONGOLIA — In the two decades since the Soviet Union dissolved and Mongolia became an independent democracy, the country has struggled to resuscitate cultural traditions lost during its many years as a Soviet satellite.
“Stalin wanted to bring Russian culture to Mongolia and destroy Mongolia’s national ambition,” explained the poet G. Mend-Ooyo, speaking in the book- and calligraphy-filled office of the Mongolian Academy of Culture and Poetry, of which he is president and founder. “He couldn’t do it completely, but from 1940 to 1990 we were far from our culture. We used Russian script, we couldn’t mention the name ‘Chinggis Khaan’ [Genghis Khan], we didn’t know our own history.”
Efforts to revive the nation’s traditional culture have borne mixed results, bogged down by factional bickering, philosophical disagreements, budgetary restraints and habit. So, while Genghis Khan is once again a household name, the Soviet-imposed Cyrillic alphabet continues to replace the flowing Uighur script that the great Khan himself is said to have borrowed for his people. Surnames — which were abolished by the Soviet-backed government in the 1920s — are still rarely used, despite government mandates to revive them. (Instead, the initial of the father’s first name is often added to given names for official usage.)

There is, however, one area in which near unanimity of purpose has enabled major progress: the revival of the morin khuur, or “horse-head fiddle.” The general revival of the instrument has been bolstered by the government, which went so far as to issue a decree aimed at restoring its special role in the nation’s cultural life. In Mongolia’s music schools, the number of morin khuur students has increased significantly, as has production of the instrument.

A two-stringed bowed instrument with a scroll in the shape of a horse’s head, the morin khuur both springs from Mongolia’s nomadic heritage and embodies it.

“Mongols really like horses,” explained B. Bayaraa, a dean at the Mongolian University of Culture and Arts. “The morin khuur really reflects the feeling, the spirit of the Mongols — it was the main musical instrument.”

The origins of the morin khuur are hazy, but legends recounting its creation all center on a herder’s abiding love for a horse who dies. To numb his grief, the herder is said to have fashioned a musical instrument from the animal’s carcass, covering a wooden frame with its skin, crafting strings and a bow from its tail hair, and carving the scroll in its image. When the instrument was finished, he played upon it the sounds his beloved steed once made as it galloped over vast green steppe, whinnied on a frosty starlit night, or snorted and shook dew from its mane in the first rays of the morning sun. Soon, there was a morin khuur in every ger (or yurt) in the land.

“Every family used to have a morin khuur as a kind of altarpiece — it was a sacred part of the household,” said B. Sharav, a composer at the Mongolian State Theater of Opera and Ballet, who as a child was taught to play the instrument by his father and grandfather and as an adult has written orchestral concertos for it. “This is one thing the Mongols can be really proud of.”

The morin khuur became an integral part of nomadic culture, used to celebrate the beginning of a new year; to mark the end of a long day pounding wool into felt; to break the monotony of herding sheep; to accentuate the joy of drinking fermented mare’s milk — even to encourage a recalcitrant camel to nurse a newborn foal.

The process of making the instrument was gradually standardized. It was determined, for instance, that the thinner of the two strings (which nowadays are generally tuned a fourth apart to F and B-flat) should have about 105 hairs from the tail of a mare while the thicker string should have about 130 from that of a stallion. Goat or camel skin was sometimes substituted for horse hide and the instruments were painted green, to symbolize fertility. A repertoire evolved and the instrument, which is held on the lap as it is played, was used to accompany dance, folk songs and poetry.
The morin khuur’s sound is a part of life,” Sharav said, gesturing toward one propped on a piano in his office. “The head of every household should be able to make a sound on it — the melody of the rhythm of a horse galloping.
As Soviet control over Mongolia tightened, however, the status of the morin khuur was deliberately diminished.

“There were purges and the abandonment of traditional instruments in the 1930s,” explained Ts. Ariunbold, director of foreign affairs at the College of Music and Dance in Ulan Bator.

Echoed his colleague, N. Ganchimeg, deputy director of the college, “This was within the stream of abandoning our traditions — instead classical music was promoted.”

The morin khuur was not completely cast aside — the College of Music and Dance continued to teach it, alongside violin, cello and other Western string instruments — but it lost its central role in Mongolia’s musical life.
Its comeback began in the general flowering of traditional culture that accompanied democracy. The instrument got a considerable boost in 2002 when then-president Natsagiin Bagabandi issued a presidential decree aimed at re-establishing its lost primacy.

“The regulation says that every household needs to have a morin khuur and the head of the household needs to know how to make a sound on it,” Ariunbold said.

Though the decree — which also established a state morin khuur on which the national anthem is to be played on special occasions — is non-binding, it has been broadly propagated and appears to have widespread support.

“We have so many requests to study the morin khuur,” Ganchimeg said. “The policy has really had a big impact in society.”

Of the 170 College of Music and Dance students who play traditional instruments, 50 major in morin khuur; the College has an accomplished morin khuur ensemble that performs works by Mongolian and other composers in a recital hall lined with portraits of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven on one wall and Glinka, Tchaikovsky and Mussorgsky on the other.

The situation is similar at the Mongolian University of Culture and Arts, and many government-sponsored activities have been implemented to support the decree.

“There is a Golden Autumn competition that encourages composers to write for the instrument,” said Bayaraa, of the University of Culture and Arts. “And every two years there is a morin khuur competition. Many people participate — including amateur players from abroad. There is a symposium on techniques, music, and research. We also invite the people who make morin khuur to share their experiences.”

Modern technology has been used to update the instrument, which now often has an all-wood sound box — the leather changes shape when taken to more humid countries — and synthetic strings. Although the instrument is widely used in rock, folk rock and jazz ensembles that play in Ulan Bator’s clubs, amplification comes from a microphone rather than electric pickups on the instrument itself.

Efforts to revive the morin khuur at home have been so successful that many of its advocates have set their sights on promoting it overseas, noting that its sound is comparable to that of the cello and that it blends well with Western orchestras.



Master mechanic satisfied with working life in Mongolia

                                                       Bradley Bennett in Oyu Tolgoi mine site
August 24,2010

John O'Connor
News Editor

If moving up in the world means graduating from high school in Merritt and landing a high profile mining job in Mongolia, consider Bradley Bennett a perfect example.

After sitting in the front row of the Merritt Secondary School graduating class on a warm June day at the de-iced Nicola Valley Memorial Arena a few months ago, the 56-year-old heavy duty mechanic is now steering the maintenance department at the Oyu Tolgoi (Mongolian for Turquoise Hill) mine in southern Mongolia.

Bennett had gone back to school last September to better himself and make himself more employable, and it paid off, but his mining job in Kamloops would only be the beginning.

“After I got my Grade 12 and the job in Kamloops, I determined that I could not keep myself, my wife, and my Son in the style to which we had become accustomed on the salary they were paying,” says Bennett.

So, Bennett sought some of the contractors he had worked for in the past.

“I then sent out an e-mail to three contractors that I have worked for, asking them if they had any openings for someone with my background and experience. Redpath got back to me first with the Master Mechanics offer in Mongolia at their Oyu Tolgoi site, about 600 km southeast of Ulaanbaatar.”

The Redpath Mongolia mine contains approximately 79-billion pounds of copper and 45-million ounces of gold.

“He couldn't pass up the opportunity because it's good travelling,” says Bennett's wife, Irene.

“He knows people all over the mining industry because he's been in the mining industry for over 35 years, and so, one of his friends knows what a good worker he is and qualifications and just phoned him up one day and asked him what he was doing…They asked him if he wanted to be a boss in Mongolia,” says Bennett with chuckle.

Only about two months into the project, Bennett says things are going well.

“The job has been up and running for five years, but is expanding rapidly, and they felt they needed a master mechanic to steer the maintenance department in a new direction.”

Spending the greater part of last year penning note pads and writing exams alongside his son, Damon, of the same MSS graduating class, Bennett is now in the midst of day-to-day operations at the open pit, underground mine, located in a far off land, quite different from Canada.

“Getting parts to the site is the biggest challenge as some are flown in from various countries and the majority are trucked in through Russia and China,” says Bennett.

“The Mechanics on site that work for me are excellent technicians and make my job easier as I mainly keep them stocked with supplies and tools to do their job, and they require very little advice on the repair end of the job.”

And how has a small-town Canadian man like Bennett managed to adapt to the culture and cuisine of Asia?

“The people are very friendly and curious; they seem to be one of the happiest countries I have ever visited,” admits Bennett.

“Their culture is very old and traditional, that is slowly adapting to western ways. They are extremely hard working and intelligent, and pick up on things almost immediately.”

Typical Mongolian food is made up of spicy dishes made up of lamb, beef, pork, fish, and chicken, although, Bennett says western food is also available.

“I have my cereal with goats milk in the morning and I do not seem to be any worse for the wear from it.”

Although the project will last for many years, even into Bennett's eventual retirement, he says he expects to be at Oyu Tolgoi for at least two years.

“I am working two months in and one month out right now, but expect the time to change to one month in and one month out in the new year.”

“All in all I am more than satisfied with the job and the camp and the meals. The Travel to exotic countries is just one more benefit thrown in,” adds Bennett.

Bennett has been in Mongolia for just over two weeks.


Chinese embassy issues statement about fight between Chinese workers and Mongolian security guards

Chinese embassy in Ulaanbaatar issued statement today about recent fight between Chinese construction workers and Mongolian security guards.

Over last weekend, some chinese construction workers building central lab building of State specialized inspection agency of Mongolia funded by Chinese government grant fought with two Mongolian security guards of nearby "Sky Hypermarket" in Khan-Uul district of Ulaanbaatar.

According to Munhjargal, head of office of the inspection agency, water pipes in the construction area were leaking and Chinese workers entered fenced area of "Sky Hypermarket" to close valves of the leaking pipe in the middle of night.

Two mongolian security guards of the shopping center stopped the Chinese and could not understand what Chinese were doing in fenced area of shopping center as Chinese did not speak any Mongolian and Mongolians did not speak any Chinese.Due to misunderstanding, they started to fight. Two policemen from the Khan-Uul district which were called to the site were severely beaten by the Chinese armed with shovels and iron bars. 2 members of fringe group "Wolf of the Steppe" (Taliin Tsoovor Chono) which went to the construction site were also beaten by the Chinese workers.

About 30 Chinese workers were involved in the fight. Police arrested six chinese workers which led the fight. About 100 Chinese workers are working in the construction area.

Chinese embassy said in the statement that the police investigation into the case will be conducted justly and legally. Nationalist-fringe groups called for expulsion of guilty Chinese workers who beaten Mongolian people in Mongolia.

By Gansukh, reporter for MonInfo News Service

General Mining to kick off drilling at Uvs potash project in Mongolia

Perth-based General Mining (ASX: GNM) is to commence drilling in September at its fully owned Uvs Basin potash project in Mongolia, once all necessary approvals are received.

The project comprises 5 granted exploration licences covering more than 2,000 km2 within the Uvs Nuur Basin that is considered prospective for bedded and domal (salt diapir) potash deposits as well as for lithium and potassium brines.

Some rock salt, soda ash & gypsum deposits and base metal occurrences have been discovered within the Uvs Basin and limited drilling at the northern periphery of the basin in the 1950-60s intersected shallow potash mineralisation in up to 600 m thick Devonian evaporates.

These drilling results from the Russian part of the Uvs Nuur Basin confirm the prospectivity for solid potash and/or potassium brine deposits.

The company’s exploration team, working together with German consulting firm ERCOSPLAN Ingenieurgesellschaft Geotechnik und Bergbau mbH, carried out field reconnaissance at the Uvs project.

This program was designed to follow up on ERCOSPLAN’s desktop overview study and the Company’s in-house remote sensing research.

The exploration team carried out surface mapping of some remote sensing circular features within the Company’s exploration ground that were interpreted as possible salt diapir structures.

The company has commissioned a drilling contractor to commence structural drilling of a series of drill holes at these circular features to a depth of about 150 m and totaling 1,200 line metres.

If confirmed by this structural drilling, salt diapir structures could become a priority target for subsequent specialised exploratory drilling aiming at the domal type of potash deposits.

The company also plans to use the availability of a drilling rig at the Uvs project to test areas of previously unexplored alluvial placer potential within the company’s exploration licences.


South Korea To Help Mongolia Achieve Maritine Transportation Capability

SEOUL, Aug 24 (Bernama) -- South Korea plans to help Mongolia to build up maritime transportation capability in exchange for gaining access to the landlocked country's abundant natural resources, Yonhap news agency said Tuesday.

The Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs said Seoul aims to train sailors, share commercial maritime management systems and allow Mongolian ships to use its port facilities.

The move will be carried out alongside current efforts to enhance overall logistics networking in Northeast Asia that can create new business opportunities for local companies.

South Korea possess the world's fifth-largest commercial shipping fleet, while Mongolia is considered one of the top 10 producers of various natural resources such as coal, copper, molybdenum and uranium.

"Under the scheme, Mongolian natural resources can be moved by rail and ship to South Korea where they will be shipped out to other countries," a ministry official said.

He added this relationship could be a win-win arrangement since Mongolia can diversify where it sells its natural resources and create an indigenous maritime transportation industry that can lead to more jobs vital for sustained economic growth.

For South Korea, closer cooperation with Mongolia can allow it to gain access to natural resources and win orders for vessels and ship-related financial services down the road.

The ministry, in addition, said that Seoul also can assist Mongolia secure the use of foreign ports in China and Russia so it can better export its resources.

Source:BERNAMA, News Wire service of Malaysia


Mongolian government will have cabinet meeting in Gobi desert

Government press service announced today Mongolian government will have special cabinet meeting dedicated to global warming and desertification on 27th August 2010 in Dalanzadgad, Umnugovi aimag (South Gobi province).

Global warming and desertification affecting Mongolian environment seriously, according to Mongolian researchers and scientific community. 70% of Mongolian land is affected by desertification process. Unprecedented cold winter of 2009-2010 claimed livest of 8 million livestock animals in Mongolia.

By Battsetseg, reporter of MonInfo News Service

Mongolia is the unsung success story of Asian human rights

Descriptions of Nazism and xenophobia are unfair and unrepresentative, says Michael Aldrich.

It is a pity that Tania Branigan overstates the influence of "Mongolian neo-Nazis" in her article (Mongolian neo-Nazis: Anti-Chinese sentiment fuels the rise of ultra-nationalism, 2 August). She says that "a new strain of Nazism has found an unlikely home" in Mongolia and that "ultra-nationalists are … becoming more sophisticated and, quietly, more powerful" here. To illustrate this assertion, Branigan's article carries an alarming photograph of six swastika-bedecked Mongolian skinheads rigidly standing to attention with their right arms thrust in a "Heil Hitler" salute.

As a regular visitor to Mongolia since 1993 and a resident in Ulan Bator over the past 18 months, I find this skewed depiction of life here to be demeaning and unfair to Mongolians.

Certainly Mongolian society faces challenges. Yes, there is a small handful of malcontents who make up these rightwing fringe groups. Their influence, however, has been steadily on the wane for years as indicated in the article: "Others in Ulan Bator … suspect the groups' menacing stance and claims of 3,000 are bluster". Franck Billé of Cambridge University thinks there is "a lot of posturing". He is right.

Yes, Mongolians are worried about China's economic might. Their past as a former colony of China and the present circumstances of their cultural cousins in Tibet give rise to justifiable concerns about the long-term intentions of their southern neighbour.

Yes, there is a strain of prejudice against China, as shown in a hip-hop track Don't Go Too Far, You Chinks with its distasteful chorus "shoot 'em all". This hateful song, however, is not "widely played in bars and clubs" as Branigan suggests. Mongolians find it repugnant.

Yes, Mongolians are a proud people. They have to be; there are precious few foreign Mongolophiles around who sing the praises of their culture and history.

However, Branigan's description of rising xenophobia on the mean streets of Ulan Bator simply does not gel with my own experiences of an open and hospitable people who are keen to adopt international business standards, who share our values of free speech and participatory democracy, and who are anxious to be seen as members of the international community.

Mongolia is the unsung success story of Asian human rights. The country made a bloodless transition to democracy in 1990 and has never made any move to repudiate participatory politics. Attendances at Buddhist temples, churches and mosques reflect the complete revival of religious freedom. The good, the bad and the ugly of Ulan Bator's daily newspapers reflect the national commitment to freedom of expression. Mongolian business people wish to abide by international standards of conduct and are proud of a commercial environment where foreign investment is warmly welcomed. Mongolians have every right to feel proud about their country and often say that they are "the easternmost extension of Europe". In terms of our higher values, they are.

There is a dearth of understanding about Mongolia in the west. Sadly, in the absence of any image of Mongolia in the public mind, the image of six Mongolian skinheads in Branigan's article will linger on long past its sell-by date.


Classified: Enjoy the best of Mongolian Art!

Welcome to our museum; it is your window on the best Mongolian Art of today!
Our museum, ‘Tsagaandarium’, has over 500 hundred artworks by famous Mongolian
artists such as D. Amgalan, B. Chogsom, Do.Bold, Ts. Enkhjargal, and Ya. Oyunchimeg. We have historical paintings illustrating different periods of Mongolian history from the early twentieth century, through socialism to the present times.

Tsagaandarium is located to the north of
Golden Buddha Statue in Zaisan.
Address: Khan-Uul district, 11 khoroo,
Zaisan, Bella Vista town
Phone: 77114545, 88553090
Visit Us Online at

Rally Mongolia covers over 3,700 km

Cyclists rally in UB on completion of the cross-country race
The Rally Mongolia started from Ulaanbaatar City on August 9 and finished on August 17 covering eight days and 3,700km. American Rally Ace Jonah Street dominated the navigation race, taking four-outof- seven individual stage victories and maintaining more than a threehour advantage at the finish over N. Lkhamaa, the nearest bike competitor. There were 37 motorcyclists and 18 crews of cars from six countries participating in the Mongolia rally. In the car classification, Mongolia’s four crews took the first four places. In this rally which was previously called Rally Raid, T. Sugawara and S. Suzuki raced with a ‘Hino’ truck for the first time, taking fifth place. There were also some female participants in the rally, mostly from Japan. Most of them covered over 3000km and reached the finish. An international rally, ‘Hohhot- Ulaanbaatar’ will be organized on August 25.

source: mongol Messenger newspaper

Asashoryu D. Dagvadorj invites PM to retirement ceremony

On August 17, Prime Minister S. Batbold met with the Grand Champion of professional sumo tournament Asashoryu D. Dagvadorj who will have an official ceremony to retire
and cut hair at Kokugikan Palace in Tokyo on October 3. In connection, D. Dagvadorj presented an invitation to the Prime Minister and his spouse to take part in the ceremony. Receiving the invitation, S. Batbold said, “Mongolia’s government and people are very grateful to you for raising Mongolia’s reputation and playing a significant role in promoting the nation. This ceremony would, of course, open
one more page in Mongolia-Japan relations and cooperation. We hope that you can still raise Mongolia’s reputation with other many activities in the future despite leaving the sumo arena. I would like to wish you the best in your life and work”.
More than 16,000 domestic and foreign guests are invited to the ceremony, including famous Japanese businessmen, athletes, artists, and world-known people. From Mongolia, over 100 representatives will attend the ceremony.

source: Mongol Messenger


Mongolian girl wins gold in Singapore

On August 16, 17 year-old freestyle wrestler B. Battsetseg, won a gold medal at the Summer Youth Olympic Games in Singapore.
B. Battsetseg, a member of the national team, competed in the weight category of girls’ 60 kg and defeated her opponents Talya Ford (New Zealand), Soure Aminita (Guinea), Svetlana Lipatova (Russia) and Kristina Victor (Nigeria). By beating Pooja Danda from India, she won the gold medal. D. Monkhbayar, coach of the Mongolia’s youngest Olympic champion is an athlete of the city’s Nalaikh district. B. Battsetseg is one of three Mongolian athletes who qualified to take part in the YOG by winning a bronze medal in the Asian competitions held in Tashkent city, Uzbekistan in May. There are 11 athletes participating in the YOG from Mongolia.

source: Mongol Messenger

Canadian ambassador concludes her term

On August 17, Prime Minister S. Batbold called on Ms. Anna Biolik, Ambassador of
Canada to Mongolia, in connection with her completing her mission in Mongolia.
Mrs. Biolik worked in Mongolia as a Canadian Ambassador since 2008. Previously,
she worked as a general consul of Canada to Russia and Ambassador to the Republic of
Kazakhstan. The Prime Minister noted that Ms. Biolik has been the very first Ambassador of Canada to Mongolia; he highly appraised of her significant contribution to Mongolia-Canada relations and cooperation, and wished her success in her further works. The Prime Minister expressed hopes Ms. Biolik would still focus on maintaining achievements and development of bilateral relations that arose during her office in Mongolia.

In turn, Ms. Biolik told the PM that the two countries have reached certain achievements in bilateral cooperation in the mining, economic and humanitarian sectors during her tenure in Mongolia. She expressed willingness to strengthen achievements in bilateral cooperation and to support Mongolia.

University tuition fees increase nearly Tgs 2 million

At this time when only a few days remain until the new academic year begins, usual matters regarding university tuition arise.
Loans of the Academic State Fund are disbursed to those who are halforphan, from poor families, and for people who served in the contractmilitary service. Also, non-refundable assistance is given to those who are fully orphaned, whose mother and father are disabled and who took the first three places in international Olympiads, as well as students who are studying under intergovernmental agreement. In addition, one child of state workers is encouraged to study under non-refundable assistance. By August 20, the number of students who receive academic loans and nonrefundable assistance becomes clear. In general, 6,200 students on average are annually involved in loans and non-refundable assistance.
M. Baasanjav, head of the Professional Educational Department at Ministry of

Education, Culture and Sciences (MECS), said, “MECS and Academic State Fund jointly worked out a new regulation and submitted it to Parliament for discussion. It is expected to be discussed on September 16. I can give more information after a decision is released”. Until the parliamentary decision is released, students who meet the requirements of State funding are now being registered under previous regulations According to the revised regulation, students who meet the requirements for receiving loans and non-refundable assistance will be involved in State funding depending on their grade point average. By doing so, it is believed that students will study with more effort and it will create competition which will eliminate the issue of unqualified graduates. State-run universities have raised their tuition fees as earlier predicted. The University of Humanity raised its tuition fee from Tgs 1,200,000 to Tgs 1,900.000, the National University of Mongolia raised from Tgs 840,000 to Tgs 1,070,000 while the Sciences and Technical University raised its tuition fee from Tgs 920,000 to Tgs 1,500,000. Also the tuition fees of the universities and colleges are different by depending on faculties. For instance, a student of social sciences will pay Tgs 920,000 whilst a student of engineering is to pay between Tgs 1,200,000 and Tgs 1,500,000.
The increase in tuition fees of universities is causing people distress.
With a purpose to resolve this troubled issue, the government discussed this issue at its cabinet meeting on August 18 and decided to issue a resolution on actions.
According to the resolution, coordination is to be made that tuition fees for September to December of 2010 will be paid by students themselves and the remaining part of their tuition from January, 2011 will be paid from the Human Development Fund

Mongolia Hosting Northeast Asia Economic Forum

ULAANBAATAR (Mongolia), Aug 16 (Bernama) -- Mongolia will host the 19th Northeast Asia Economic Forum from Aug 26 to 27, Mongolia's MONTSAME news agency reported.

The forum which aimed to develop economic cooperation is organised by the Office of the President of Mongolia, the Government, Northeast Asia Association, Asian Pacific Institute and Northeast Asia Economic Forum of the US.

Mongolian President Ts.Elbegdorj will take part in the inauguration ceremony along with Premier S.Batbold, high representatives of China, Russia, S.Korea and Japan.

The Northeast Asia Economic Forum, established in 1992 in Hawaii, conducts researches into social and economic development issues of the Northeast Asia region and organises discussions, the news agency said.

Source:BERNAMA, Malaysian news service

Khan Files Formal Claim Against ARMZ

TORONTO, ONTARIO, Aug 20, 2010 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- Khan Resources Inc. /quotes/comstock/11t!e:kri (CA:KRI 0.33, +0.04, +14.04%) ("Khan") announced today that it has filed a statement of claim against Atomredmetzoloto JSC ("ARMZ") and its affiliate JSC Priargunsky Industry Mining and Chemical Union ("JSC PIMCU") with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

The claim has been brought by Khan and certain of its subsidiaries, and seeks damages from ARMZ and its affiliate in the total amount of CDN$300,000,000, including equitable compensation resulting from their breach of fiduciary duties as one of Khan's joint venture partners and a shareholder of Central Asian Uranium Company, LLC ("CAUC"), general damages resulting from their unlawful interference with the plaintiffs' economic relations, general damages resulting from their deliberately causing damage to Khan's and its subsidiaries' rights, business reputation and property and aggravated, exemplary and punitive damages.

The statement of claim alleges, among other things, that the harmful conduct of ARMZ and it affiliates, namely in seeking to establish a joint venture with the Government of Mongolia over the Dornod uranium region without regard to Khan's rights and interests, impugning the legitimacy of Khan's interests in Mongolia, interfering with its economic relations with MonAtom LLC (Khan's other joint venture partner in CAUC and the Mongolian state-owned entity with which Khan sought to pursue a strategic transaction), and interfering with the competing and superior take-over bid by CNNC Overseas Uranium Holding Ltd., all with the goal of eliminating Khan's interests in Mongolia, has caused Khan, its subsidiaries and its shareholders substantial damage.

Mr. Grant Edey, President and Chief Executive Officer of Khan stated, "Khan has been carefully evaluating the ongoing conduct of ARMZ and its affiliates and determined that it had no choice but to pursue a formal claim in order to try to protect Khan's rights and interests and seek compensation for the significant damage we believe Khan has suffered." Mr. Edey added, "ARMZ has made no secret of its desire to acquire control of the Dornod uranium property in Mongolia." In the Statement of Claim, Khan alleges that, having failed to acquire Khan through its hostile take-over bid, ARMZ and its affiliates have embarked on a course of conduct intended to eliminate Khan's mining and exploration licenses so as to enable them to proceed with their joint venture with the Mongolian Government, without any regard to, and to the detriment of, Khan's rights and interests.

Khan intends to continue to vigorously defend its rights and interests, including pursuing all available rights and remedies in Canada, Mongolia and elsewhere.

Khan Resources Inc. /quotes/comstock/11t!e:kri (CA:KRI 0.33, +0.04, +14.04%) is a Canadian company engaged in the acquisition, exploration and development of uranium properties. Its current activities are focused on the Dornod area in northeastern Mongolia. Khan holds interests in the Main Dornod Property and in the Additional Dornod Property. Khan's website is

Forward-Looking Statements and Information

This press release may contain forward-looking statements and forward-looking information, which are subject to certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions. Forward-looking statements and information are characterized by words such as "will", "plan", "expect", "project", "intend", "believe", "anticipate", "forecast", "schedule", "estimate" and similar expressions, or statements that certain events or conditions "may" or "will" occur. Forward-looking statements and information are not historical facts and are based upon a number of estimates and assumptions and are inherently subject to significant business, social, economic, political, regulatory, competitive and other risks and uncertainties, contingencies and other factors, including the impact of international, Mongolian and Canadian laws, trade agreements and regulatory requirements on Khan's business, properties, licenses, operations and capital structure, Khan's ability to re-instate or re-register the Dornod uranium project licenses, regulatory uncertainty and obtaining governmental and regulatory approvals, legislative, political, social, regulatory and economic developments or changes in jurisdictions in which Khan carries on business, the nature and outcome of pending and future litigation, arbitration and other legal proceedings, the speculative nature of exploration and development, risks involved in the exploration, development and mining business, changes in market conditions, changes or disruptions in the securities markets and market fluctuations in prices for Khan securities, the existence of third parties interested in purchasing some or all of the common shares or Khan's assets, the method of funding and availability of any potential alternative strategic transactions involving Khan or its assets, including those transactions that may produce strategic value to shareholders, the need to obtain, maintain and/or re-register licenses and permits and comply with national and international laws, regulations, treaties or other similar requirements, and uncertainty in the estimation of mineral reserves and resources. In addition, a number of other factors could cause actual results to differ materially from the results discussed in such statements and information, and there is no assurance that actual results will be consistent with them. For further details, reference is made to the risk factors discussed or referred to in Khan's annual and interim management's discussion and analyses and Annual Information Form on file with the Canadian securities regulatory authorities and available on SEDAR at Such forward-looking statements and information are made or given as at the date of this news release, and Khan assumes no obligation to update or revise them, either publicly or otherwise, to reflect new events, information or circumstances, except as may be required under applicable securities law.

Investor Relations Contacts:
Khan Resources Inc.
Grant Edey
President & CEO

Khan Resources Inc.
Paul Caldwell
Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Secretary

Mongolia, U.S. vow to enhance defense cooperation

ULAN BATOR, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- Mongolian Prime Minister Sukhbaatar Batbold and a visiting senior U.S. defense official reaffirmed their willingness to enhance cooperation in security and defense sectors, the Mongolian government said Friday.

Mongolia is working with the United States in strengthening international as well regional security and will extend their cooperation to help strengthen and maintain security in Asia and Pacific Rim area, Batbold said while meeting with Wallace Gregson, U.S. assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs.

The Mongolian prime minister also mentioned the "Khaan Quest" peacekeeping military drill held in Mongolia every year since 2004, saying the drill plays an important role in improving skill of Mongolian peacekeepers and strengthening mutual trust and understanding between the arm forces of the participating countries.

He noted that Mongolia has sent soldiers to serve honorably as UN peacekeepers in many of hotspots around the world.

In his part, Gregson said the United States highly values U.S. -Mongolia relations, especially cooperation between their defense sectors.

He added that Mongolian peacekeeping troops play an important role in international peacekeeping operations.

About 204 military personnel from Mongolia and 125 others from Canada, France, Germany, India, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and the United States are participating in the drill known as Khaan Quest 2010 to be end on Saturday.
Editor: Fan Chunxu

Source:Xinhua news agency of China

Mongolia’s first boutique investment bank adds to its team

Oscar Mendoza has joined Mongolia’s first boutique investment bank, Frontier Securities, as co-chief operating officer. Mendoza will be responsible for the day-to-day management of Frontier Securities and for setting and executing the firm's global strategy.

"Oscar is an experienced international financial markets professional with true passion for (the markets). He is a respected figure in the frontier arena," said Masa Igata, chief executive officer of Frontier Securities. "Oscar's hiring reaffirms Frontier Securities' ongoing commitment to the cross-border business in the frontier market of Mongolia. We look to him to provide industry leadership and to help us grow our business and further integrate our cross-border solutions into our broader frontier financial markets solutions sets".

Frontier Securities is based in Ulaanbaatar and stakes the claim as Mongolia’s first boutique investment bank. Its stated goal is to provide clients with the best of both worlds: an investment bank with a local presence and a firm with international financial markets expertise, particularly in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Singapore.

Mendoza has an MBA from the International University of Japan and is billed by the firm as an executive with "years of experience".

© Haymarket Media Limited. All rights reserved.

Horse as main course

I went to Mongolia wanting to taste the sacred animal, but there's a lesson beyond flavor in forbidden food.
As a child, the closest I got to horses was a coin-operated mustang in the grocery store. I was mostly indifferent to them, boyhood cowboy phase excepted, until a history professor described the Mongol armies that dominated Asia. Horsemen with a string of mounts pressed at unprecedented speed across impossible territory. They struck quickly, baiting opposing armies into outrunning their own supply lines and their discipline. When the Mongols moved separate from their own herds, they rotated horses to keep them fresh, opened veins to drink horse blood, and culled the weakest for food.

The Mongols were brutal and pragmatic and mobile. I was self-indulgent and listless, but now suddenly obsessed with their stories. When I arrived in Mongolia as a Peace Corps volunteer two years later, it was with a rucksack full of romance, too little long underwear, and a hunger.

Mongolians ate horses, and I wanted to join them. I wanted to ingest some history and culture. Perhaps I did a little too much reading.

While horse is commonly eaten in Europe and revered in Japan, most Americans cannot stomach the idea that anyone would eat them. Our aversion to horse meat is so strong that Congress found time even around its quagmires to consider a bipartisan Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act, even though horse slaughter is already basically illegal since the USDA does not grant inspections to equine slaughterhouses. In March, the Missouri House of Representatives, invoking the otherwise unassailable priority of job creation, considered a bill that would make it possible to slaughter horses in Missouri. The effort failed.

Still, despite my hope to eat one there, horses do not want for respect in Mongolia. To see that firsthand, travel in winter on a bus, a Russian relic overfilled with sacks of meat and passengers in cocoons of wool, cashmere, nylon and faux fur. The temperature, vibration and cargo are absolutely numbing. On every trip, however, a child's voice calls out. Passengers awake from a collective stupor and rub portholes in the ice-coated windows, point, appraise and come alive. Nothing -- not five welcome minutes to piss into the snow, not a sacred tree streaming with prayer flags, not even the relief of the capital's central heating and serviceable vodka -- is as dependably remarkable to these travelers as a herd of potbellied horses on the plains.

* Continue reading

Horses are sacred animals to the nomadic herders and a powerful symbol for all Mongolians. Like the bald eagle, their well-worn image adorns living rooms, clothing, music videos and the biceps of the patriotic. Unlike the eagle, this animal has a daily role in the life and livelihood of the country. And still people eat them. In a country sustained by mounted herders, horses bring home the bacon and are sometimes themselves the bacon.

I spent my first three months in a small town called Khongor, built around wheat fields and a flour mill. With the withdrawal of Russian support, the mill failed and the town struggled on by providing vegetables, meat and a truck stop to an industrial city 15 kilometers to the north. It was, perhaps, an unlikely place to go looking for the culinary artifacts of empire.

Out of place as I was, I was well taken care of, usually in ways I couldn't have asked for. Otgonjargal, the woman who first taught me how to eat and speak Mongolian, usually couldn't figure out what I was asking for either. Each night I pointed at a piece of meat and asked, "What is this?"

"Meat," she said.

"Oh," I would say, looking for words in the bare linguistic cupboard of my mind, "but which animal?"

"Sheep. Mutton."

Not horse. I never failed to look a little downcast before remembering myself and saying a word I thought meant delicious. Later, I found a way to explain myself: "My people eat sheep. We eat goats, sometimes. We eat cows. We eat fish. Chickens too. But we don't eat horse. Do you eat horse?"


"I want to eat horse."

Otgonjargal responded to this juvenile broadside with characteristic generosity by bringing me, first, a tin of sardines. I tried to explain that my people didn't eat fish like this, not usually. But also that these were delicious. And thank you. But we usually ate them larger. "Like this," and I held up my hand, even made it swim a little. The next day, Otgonjargal's husband, Chinzorig, brought home a plastic bag filled with palm-size fish from the river.

"Now," they said, "show us how Americans eat fish." I had never cleaned a fish before, never chopped off a head or removed scales. I had only watched them arrive at a table sitting proudly on a bed of vegetables or battered and swimming in tartar sauce -- so I battered and fried enough fish for each of us to have two mostly edible nuggets.

"Our people don't eat fish," they said. "That was ... new." They waited until I retreated to my room, somewhat proud of my role as cultural ambassador, and Otgonjargal made noodles with mutton. I gave up on dietary suggestions and, to get my expectations in line with my experience, on eating horse.

Near the end of the summer, a block of room-temperature meat swaddled in shopping bags materialized on the counter. It shrunk with each meal. For days, I watched it sit just out of the sun and far out of the barely working refrigerator. I noticed a dark yellow strip of fat and an almost disturbingly dark tone of red. I was quietly concerned, but I was even more culturally gung-ho and, besides, no one else was concerned.

At the beginning of a meal near the end of the meat, Otgonjargal's children delivered my bowl and pointed at it: "Aduu!" At my confused look, they galloped around the living room, around me and my over-full bowl. "Aduu," they shouted again. Like "cows" become "beef," in the Mongolian language, horse became something different when made many and made into food. It also became something quite different than I had expected. The meat in the kitchen hasn't been discolored at all -- it was just that horse was a different color.

The community where I ate my horse didn't look like the camp of history's greatest conquerors, whatever that was supposed to look like. The horses didn't look like the graceful televised thoroughbreds that had always been my image of horses. Mongolian horses were built like bikers – thick and shaggy. After the best reading a major library could provide, it took a summer's worth of dinners to start treating horses the same way I treated most other animals I have regular contact with: less like a symbol, more like food.

When I moved to a provincial center in the Gobi and got more than halfway to fluency, my culinary education accelerated. I shared a yard with the family of two teachers, Oyunchimeg and Erkhembaatar, and I lived in the ger, or yurt, in which they had spent much of their lives together. I earned my meals by glacially peeling potatoes and trying Oyunchimeg's patience while she did most of the cooking.

She explained, over boiling pots of mutton, that her people did indeed eat horse, but not if they could help it. "Mongolians eat horses," she said. "We, however, don't really eat them. And if we do, it's only in winter. Horse with garlic is good for colds. The broth from boiled horse is bad for your stomach. It just does, and it just is."

I pressed for concrete reasons, asking why they make these choices and distinctions, in every one of the limited ways I could. Oyunchimeg finally looked impatient. "Because," she said, "we do."

Because is rarely a good enough reason for my people to eat horse. Like dogs and cats, horses are so packed with meaning and with our fondness for them that their flesh becomes polluted the moment we turn it into fillets. They occupy pride of place in the sparsely populated pantheon of exceptional animals. No other working animal joins them, and the logic of inclusion is inconsistent. Plenty of pork lovers, after all, also loved Wilbur in "Charlotte's Web." No cowboy ever sang ballads about loyal sheep and we don’t teach chickens to nuzzle our faces. Horses in America are, even to avid meat-eaters and city folks, more than the sum of their otherwise edible parts. For all my frustration with Oyunchimeg, the reasons we don’t eat horse -- big eyes, sleekness, perceived loyalty, and the national myth of how they helped us "win" the West -- can be reduced to because we don't.

I should have predicted the response when I wrote a matter-of-fact e-mail back home that, in Mongolia, we ate horse. An ex-girlfriend I hadn't heard from in months wrote to forbid me from horse-eating. My sister-in-law Claire, whose family raises horses in Missouri, suggested -- perhaps in jest -- that she would stop speaking to me if I kept it up. Some relatives sent me the e-mail equivalent of retching.

A curious or depraved few wrote to ask what horse tastes like. I didn't really have an answer. It hadn't been particularly relevant while surrounded by horse-eaters. I know that we ate horse minced in steamed dumplings or fried in meat pies, sliced into bowls of flour noodles and boiled on the bone. I knew it made a serviceable fajita when my parents sent Old El Paso taco packets. I knew the murderous color of red and the Post-it yellow bands of fat. I knew how we ate it and I knew when.

How horse tastes doesn't have much to do with taste buds or personal preference, especially when the creature in question is old and rangy. Horse doesn't taste good or bad, as I remember, any more than foods other than bacon and marzipan taste universally good or bad. As with most of what I've eaten outside the States, the flavor has less to do with smell and taste than it does with memory and people.

As a university student, before I'd ever seen a dead horse that wasn't falling from under John Wayne, horse flesh tasted like getting out of the Midwest and becoming someone with a square jaw who told the best stories in the bar. On a Mongolian bus, horse was the realization that matters of taste are often matters of collective taste. With Otgonjargal, it was the sensation of coming-of-age again, a baptism by mincemeat. With Oyunchimeg, horse tasted like becoming family over a bowl of poorly peeled potatoes. At no point, however, do I remember tasting horse flesh itself. I didn't need to before I left Mongolia, and I'm not sure I want to now.

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