British freelance journalist claims to have found long-lost burial place of Genghis Khan, written a book

Freelance journalist Robin Ackroyd claims to have found the long-lost tomb of 13th century Mongol leader Genghis Khan.
The revelation is included in his new book Genghis: Sacred Tomb, Secret Treasure.
He believes the secret tomb is located high on a mountain in northerly Mongolia and is also the last resting place of his grandson Khubilai, the Yuan dynasty ruler of China.
Ackroyd completed a 700km horseback expedition, lived among nomads and travelled into a wilderness known as the Great Forbidden Sanctuary to research his book.
He concludes that, although the international conqueror died in northern China in August 1227, he was brought back to Mongolia for burial.
Ackroyd, who won a celebrated protection of sources battle in 2007, said: “It is likely that the early Mongol khans were buried with grave-goods, perhaps of great value, to see them into the afterlife.
“The area was guarded by a tribe called the Uriankhai. They were exempt from taxes and military service.
“The guarding of the imperial grave site undermines the folkloric suggestion that the soldiers who witnessed the funeral were executed.
After translating ancient Mongol texts, and his own on the ground research, Ackroyd concluded that previous theories about the last resting place of the early Mongol chief are wrong. Ackroyd says his theory has now been accepted by the Mongol government.
He said: “Height mattered to the Mongols. Mountains brought the Mongols physically, and spiritually, closer to the Eternal Blue Heaven that they worshipped.
“The best evidence firmly points to the Mongol khans, and others regarded as being of noble position, being traditionally buried on mountain heights.
“These mountains were in areas set aside as inviolable sanctuaries – either in their native territories, or in their appointed realms.
“Genghis Khan was repatriated in death. He was not buried in the Ordos region of China. His famous mausoleum is merely a memorial.”

'The Eagle Huntress' captures the beauty and culture of remote Mongolia

A scene from "The Eagle Huntress," which was screened at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.
Asher Svidensky, Provided by Sundance Institute

"The Eagle Huntress" is a new documentary that follows the pioneering efforts of a 13-year-old girl named Aisholpan, who wants to be the world's first female eagle hunter.
It's important to note that "eagle hunter" does not mean "a person who hunts eagles." Rather, eagle hunters are part of a remote nomadic culture in the Altai Mountains of Northwestern Mongolia that, amazingly, employs the use of trained birds of prey to hunt for foxes. We are introduced to the practice in the film's opening sequence high on a mountaintop, as a veteran hunter sets his eagle free following seven years of service, after sacrificing a ram as a sort of retirement gift.
From here we jump into Aisholpan's life, which straddles the worlds of her native culture and the advances of the West. Her home is in the wilderness with her family, who live in elaborate tents, but for five days a week she and her siblings attend a nearby school, where, among other things, they learn English.
Aisholpan's professional aspiration is to become a doctor, but her dream is to join her culture's eagle hunter tradition. The only problem is that the practice is passed from father to son, and as a few interviews with local elders reveal, no one is too keen to let a girl in on the game.
Aisholpan's story is broken into three segments. In the first, she and her father, Nurgaiv, head out to find her an eagle, which requires maneuvering down a treacherous cliff to a nest. In the second, Aisholpan competes in her first Eagle Hunter Festival, where she has to prove her skills and face the resistance of her community for the first time. In the last passage, training and local politics are put in the background as Aisholpan joins her father for a real-life eagle hunt in frigid conditions that will test the limits of her abilities.
It's a fun story arc, and Aisholpan is a sweet protagonist who is easy to cheer for. As far as the story goes, a lot more tension comes from Aisholpan's adventures in practice than from any local cultural pressure. Director Otto Bell includes cutaways of various people making critical remarks about Aisholpan being a girl, but aside from that no one does much to get in her way.
That last point may have a lot to do with the documentary film crew following her around. "The Eagle Huntress" is a fascinating look at a remote culture, but since that culture is being infiltrated by a camera crew, it's easy to wonder if the results are as authentic as they may have been otherwise. Footage at the festival reveals numerous photographers perched on the mountains, documenting the event in a bold clash of the modern world with the historic practice they are trying to capture.
One thing that isn't in dispute is the beauty of the area. The landscape of Mongolia is a silent but powerful character throughout the film, spoiling us with long, rolling vistas and white tundras that scale rocky mountains. Combined with the footage of the eagles themselves, "The Eagle Huntress" is a rich visual experience. When you see the size of the talons digging into Aisholpan's arm, you'll be compelled to respect her efforts regardless of her gender.
Like most entries in the Sundance Film Festival, "The Eagle Huntress" is not rated but might receive a PG rating for some animal-related gore and violence. It is presented in Kazakh with English subtitles.
"The Eagle Huntress" is not rated, but likely PG for some animal-related gore and violence; running time 87 minutes.

Joshua Terry is a freelance writer and photojournalist who appears weekly on "The KJZZ Movie Show" and also teaches English composition for Salt Lake Community College. Find him online


Mongolian PM Survives No-Confidence Vote Over Economic Policies

Mongolian Prime Minister Saikhanbileg Chimed has survived a no confidence vote over his handling of the economy, setting him up to rule through summer elections.
Forty-two lawmakers in the 76-seat Great Hural voted in support of Saikhanbileg, with 31 against. A five-hour debate concluded in the early hours of Friday. A group of 19 MPs had filed a petition alleging that Saikhanbileg’s May authorization of Rio Tinto Group’s development of the Oyu Tolgoi copper mine constituted an abuse of power, offering little benefit to Mongolian citizens, delaying dividends and increasing the state’s debt burden.
Saikhanbileg and his Democratic Party -- a patchwork of sometimes bickering factions -- has five months to turn around the sluggish economy before voters return to the polls. Perceived instability and declining commodity prices conspired to send yields on Mongolia’s sovereign bonds to record highs last week.
The vote results are a “major boost for political stability until 2016 elections, de-risking Mongolia in this sense,’’ Dale Choi, founder of Mongolian Metals & Mining, said in an e-mailed statement. “OT underground is safe now from political interference, until elections bring an additional four years of clarity.’’
The Mongolian tugrik fell to an all-time low Thursday of 2,006 against the U.S. dollar. The currency was little changed Friday.
Rio will re-start development of the underground mine, which had been on hold since August 2013 due to disputes over a range of issues including fees, taxes and funding. A $4.4 billion project financing package to develop the mine was concluded in December. Wrapping up a separate coal mining deal with a group that includes China Shenhua Energy Co. remains a government priority.


Mongolia looks to Alaska for help handling domestic violence

Efforts to end domestic violence brought a delegation from Mongolia to Nome on Monday. The group — made up of social workers, shelter managers, police officers, and more — was there to learn how Alaska is addressing high rates of sexual assault and domestic violence. Mongolian delegates and local leaders discussed the hard issues affecting both communities over lunch.
It’s noon at Nome’s United Methodist Church, and the Inupiaq choir welcomes over a dozen Mongolian delegates with a performance of “Praise Ye the Lord.”
The music kicks off a meeting hosted by members of the Bering Sea Women’s Group, the Nome Social Justice Task Force, and other community leaders. Beyond forming new friendships and sharing homemade salmon patties, the goal is to give their Mongolian counterparts an idea of how Alaska responds to domestic violence.
When it comes to this issue, the two places have a lot in common. That’s according to Tuvshinjargal Gantumur, a psychologist and manager at the National Center Against Violence in Mongolia. Through a translator, she said the similarities between Alaska and Mongolia are what made the delegation eager to take this “study trip.”
“There are some similar statistics and rates. Like the rates of domestic violence and sexual assault cases — they’re relatively high right now. And in terms of geography, we also have rural areas — where people are scattered — in Mongolia. So all the experiences that Alaskan people have already achieved will be interesting for us.”
The delegates heard all about those experiences from their first stops in Juneau and Anchorage to their final visit in Nome, where they toured the Anvil Mountain Correctional Center, Norton Sound Regional Hospital, and the district attorney’s office before learning about specific Nome initiatives against domestic violence.
Ultimately, though, the Monday lunch meeting wasn’t really about statistics or hands-on training. Instead, the main message from Nome leaders was that no community can address domestic violence with getting at the cause. And for many places, including Alaska and Mongolia, that means understanding how colonization and racism have inflicted lasting trauma on Native people — and how that trauma manifests in domestic violence and other social issues that aren’t easily solved.
With that attitude in mind, Gantumur said the delegation is excited to get back home and continue their work, with new insight from — and an ongoing relationship with — their new connections in Alaska.
“We have a lot planned when we go back. We will do advocacy towards changing the legislation implementation process and also prevention activities. We are also planning to have consultants from Alaska come over to Mongolia, so they will also teach us in the field.”
Returning the favor, the Mongolian delegates wrapped up the meeting with some music of their own. Performed in the Mongolian language, they said their song was about a mother’s unconditional love.


Grants signed to promote Khuvsgul tourism, school dormitories, and affordable housing

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Government of Mongolia signed three grant agreements totaling $7 million for projects on 26 January 2016 to benefit the environment and livelihoods at Khuvsgul Lake National Park in northern Mongolia, upgrade school dormitories in Mongolia’s western region, and improve affordable housing in Ulaanbaatar, the national capital.
The three grants are funded by ADB’s Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR), which over the past 16 years has supported 42 projects in Mongolia. JFPR has fundedpractical and direct assistance to people across Mongolia for education and health, social protection, , employment generation, and for the environment.
Signing for the Government of Mongolia was the Minister of Finance B. Bolor, while ADB Country Director Robert Schoellhammer signed on behalf of ADB. The event was witnessed by Mr. Battsereg, Minister for Environment, Green Development and Tourism, Mr. Gantumur, Minister for Education, Culture and Science, Mr. Enkh-Amgalan, Member of Parliament, and Vice Mayor for Ulaanbaatar, Mr. Ochirbat. Mr. Shimizu, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Mongolia also witnessed the event.
The Khuvsgul Lake project is ADB’s first-ever tourism project in Mongoliaan undertaking that will help create jobs, develop sustainable community-based tourism, and protect the environment,” said Mr. Schoellhammer. “The dormitory project willpromote equal access to quality education, particularly for children from herder families, while the affordable housing project will provide green development for the fast-growing districts of Ulaanbaatar. These projects are aligned with ADB’s broader strategy to diversify the economy, create jobs outside of the mining sector, and ensure opportunities for all, including people from disadvantaged backgrounds.”
Khuvsgul Lake National Park has long been considered one of the jewels in the crown of Mongolia’s protected area estate. More than 1 million hectares ofstunning snow-capped mountains and forested hillsides surround Khuvsgul Lake, which supports 70% of Mongolia’s, and 1% of the world’s, freshwater. Its pristine waters are vital to Mongolia, while the park’s wilderness and biodiversity values are of global importance. Khuvsgul aimag (province) is increasingly becoming an international tourist destination.
The Khuvsgul Lake project will focus on promoting sustainable tourism, community livelihoods, and environmental protection around the lake. Collaborative approaches will be implemented between the park authority, residents, and tour operators, to strengthen local tourism business and waste management.
Mongolia’s school dormitory system, meanwhile, was developed to ensure wider access to education, particularly for students from herder families. Many school dormitories were built in the 1970s and 1980s and require urgent rehabilitation. The western region supports the largest number of students staying in dormitories, of which 86% are from herder families.
The dormitory project will establish nationally replicable models to improve dormitory buildings, facilities and child-care in three aimags, Gov-Altai, Uvs, and Zavkhan.Dormitory buildings and facilities for heating, sanitation and housing of students will be upgraded, staff training and management capacity will be strengthened to improve pastoral care, and a national strategy to improve the school dormitory environment will be developed.
Ulaanbaatar’s peri-urban (ger) areas support over one-quarter (780,000) of Mongolia’s national population of 3 million, and 60% of the capital’s population of 1.3 million. Improving the basic housing services for the residents of these areas is a key priority of the Government of Mongolia. The affordable housing project will support the efforts of the Municipality of Ulaanbaatar to provide better infrastructure and living environment for residents and to reduce air and soil pollution in the capital.
Established in May 2000, the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR) provides direct grant assistance to the poorest and most vulnerable groups in developing member countries of ADB while fostering long-term social and economic development.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members48 from the region. 


Southern Mongolia: Herders Wrongly Accused Of National Separatism By Local Police

Since 2008, the ban on livestock grazing in the region was put in place by the local police. In compensation, herders received subsidies until six months ago when it suddenly stopped. In response, the Southern Mongolian herders published on social media images of their protest and also interacted with foreign journalists. Chinese authorities reported these actions as national separatist activities leading to dozens of herders being held in police stations for interrogation.  

Photo courtesy of Xianyi Shen on @Flickr
Below is an article by SMHRIC

On January 25, 2016, a dozen Mongolian herders from western Southern (Inner) Mongolia’s Darhan-Muumingan Banner (“da mao qi” in Chinese) were taken away by local police authorities for contacting “overseas news media and hostile forces” and “engaging in national separatism”. Following several hours of interrogation, the herders were released. Many other herders received threatening phone calls from the local police authorities warning them not to contact any foreign news media or overseas organizations.
“At least a dozen herders were taken to the local police dispatch stations and questioned,” an elderly herder from the affected community told the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC) over the phone, “many others were warned over the phone by the police not to contact any foreigners.”
“I was also threatened by phone, and my daughter was taken to the police dispatch station,” she added.
Last Wednesday, dozens of Mongolian herders from Darhan-Muumingan Banner gathered in front of the Banner government building in protest of the local authorities’ refusal to pay a subsidy to the herders in partial compensation for their loss caused by the authorities’ total ban on livestock grazing.
After the protest, herders published some pictures and video clips of the protest scenes via social media and gave interviews to foreign journalists and human rights groups.
“I was threatened with accusations of ‘national separatism’,” another herder named Tuyaa told the SMHRIC, “the police said contacting those national separatist individuals and organizations is considered taking part in the national separatist activities as well.”
“Then they wanted to check my cell phone activities. I refused,” Tuyaa added.
Mongolian herders from this area said that the local authorities implemented the ban on livestock grazing in 2008 and promised to pay a certain amount of subsidies to the herders as part of redress for their economic loss. However, since six months ago, the Banner Government has stopped paying these subsidies without providing any reasonable explanation, according to the herders.
“Now our very survival is threatened. We are neither allowed to raise our livestock nor obtain the subsidy,” another frustrated herder told the SMHRIC.
On the same day, nearly a hundred herders from western Southern Mongolia’s Alshaa Left Banner also gathered before the local government building, urging the local government to halt its campaign of demolishing herders’ homes and infrastructure, demanding protection for the herders’ rights to their grazing lands and rights to maintain their traditional way of life.


Russia’s upper house ratifies deal to write off 97% of Mongolia’s debt

MOSCOW, January 27. /TASS/. The Federation Council, the upper house of Russia’s parliament, has ratified an inter-governmental agreement on settling Mongolia’s financial obligations to Russia. As of December 2010, Mongolia’s unsettled financial obligations to Russia totaled $174.2 million. The entire sum of these liabilities was overdue debt. Mongolia’s debt obligations to Moscow emerged in the period until the mid-1990s and comprise debts on loans provided by the former Soviet Union to Mongolia to pay about 163.7 million convertible rubles to the charter capital of the Mongolian-Soviet joint venture Mongolsovtsvetmet, as well as a surplus of 10.5 million clearing US dollars in favor of Russia under clearing accounts opened by Vnesheconombank with the State Bank of Mongolia.

"As a result of bilateral negotiations held in July 2010, the sides managed to reach an agreement, under which Mongolia undertook to repay financial obligations worth 163.7 million convertible rubles and 10.5 million clearing US dollars with a lumpsum payment of $3.8 million," an explanatory note says. According to the note, the deal envisaged receiving funds from the debtor in freely convertible currency expressed in notional settlement units used under lending and trade operations of the former Soviet Union over the period of 20 years and now withdrawn from economic transactions of Russia and Mongolia. Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak said earlier that the write-off would involve 97% of Mongolia’s debt. "It should be noted that the sum involves the debt denominated in the non-existing currency. Actually, the debtor always has a possibility to formulate the issue like this: no currency, no obligations. In this case, we agreed on recalculating the amount into the really existing monetary unit," he said.

Source:Tass News Agency

Ethnic Mongolians Protest Missile Tests on Grasslands, Lack of Income

A crater left by a missile reportedly fired by China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) in Inner Mongolia's Alshaa Left Banner, in undated photo.
 Photo courtesy of a local resident.
Ethnic Mongolian herders in northern China are protesting the use of their traditional grazing lands for military weapons testing, as authorities elsewhere in the region detain at least 10 people for giving interviews to overseas media.
Dozens of herders in Inner Mongolia's Alshaa (in Chinese, Alashan) League Left Banner gathered outside the offices of the banner, or county, government on Monday in protest recent missile tests on local grasslands by the People's Liberation Army (PLA), herders told RFA on Tuesday.
"We hear [the explosions]," an Alshaa resident said. "Every day, they fire off several dozen missiles; they're still doing it right now."
"They drive out on the grasslands in vehicles carrying the missiles, and drive around the place [firing them]," he said. "They have made tracks where there were no roads before, all over our grazing lands."
"Recently, they have been firing off missiles just 200 meters from where there are herders living," the herder added.
Dust and debris
Photos of the scene sent to RFA by local residents showed grasslands turned to dust, scored with tire tracks and pocked with small craters, as well as debris that appeared to come from spent military hardware.
Herders are also protesting the non-payment of subsidies promised by the government as compensation for a grazing ban on their lands, they told RFA.
"We haven't received any of our compensation payments for a year now," one herder said. "Thee were several dozen of us demanding payment outside the banner government yesterday."
Alshaa herders say they are entitled to 13,000 yuan (U.S.$1,074) per person annually, with payments of 2,000 for children under 18.
Meanwhile, in Inner Mongolia's Darhan-Muumingan Banner (in Chinese, Damao Qi), police detained at least a dozen people on suspicion of "contacting overseas news media and hostile forces" and "splitting the country."
According to the New York-based Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC), the herders were detained on Monday and released only after "several hours of interrogation."
"Many other herders received threatening phone calls from the local police authorities warning them not to contact any foreign news media or overseas organizations," the group said in a report on its website.
"I was threatened with accusations of ‘national separatism,'" SMHRIC quoted herder Tuyaa as saying. "The police said contacting national separatist individuals and organizations is considered taking part in separatist activities as well."
"Then they wanted to check my cell phone activities. I refused," Tuyaa added.
An elderly local resident told SMHRIC: "I was also threatened by phone, and my daughter was taken to the police station."
The detentions come after Darhan-Muumingan herders gathered outside government offices, also in protest at non-payment of subsidies, the report said.
Herders are often banned from grazing their livestock on traditional grasslands where they have lived for generation, ostensibly to prevent erosion, desertification and livestock diseases.
But the government has announced long-term plans to move all traditional nomadic groups into permanent, urban dwellings, and herders say the bans are often a pretext to allow Chinese mining and forestry companies to exploit natural resources.
Dozens of Mongolian herders from Darhan-Muumingan Banner have also gathered in front of the Banner government building in protest at non-payment of subsidies.
Local herder Mengke said several hundred herders had taken part, however.
"It's nearly [Chinese] New Year and the herders have no money," Mengke said. "We haven't received our subsidies for six months or more."
He said apparent changes to the local climate have made matters worse.
Rapid urbanization
"It doesn't rain any more in the summer, and it doesn't snow any more in the winter," Mengke said.
The Inner Mongolia regional government is currently implementing a three-year "upgrade" program, including the demolition of buildings "at risk of collapse," securing safe drinking water and the urbanization of rural communities.
The plan also aims to deliver higher "hygiene standards," deliver electricity, radio, and television to all areas, and improve local schools.
It aims to speed up the urbanization of traditional ethnic Mongolian herding communities, offering lump sum payouts of around 10,000 yuan (U.S.$1,500) per household.
Herders blame the ongoing exploitation of natural resources by Chinese companies for the spread of grasslands-related protests in the region, as local governments sell off land to investors, often in the mining or forestry sectors, and sometimes in the face of existing "responsibility contracts" held by herding communities for the land.
SMHRIC estimates that at least 160,000 ethnic Mongolians have been forcibly evicted from traditional grazing lands in recent decades, while local activists also blame Chinese companies for damaging the fragile ecosystem in the region, leading local authorities to impose grazing bans to prevent further desertification.
In China, all land is ultimately owned by the state, so herders have little redress when it comes to safeguarding their own grazing rights, they say.
Reported by Qiao Long for RFA's Mandarin Service, and by the Cantonese Service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.

Hungarian PM: Mongolia could become key destination for tech exports

Mongolia is soon to become a key destination for Hungarian technology exports, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjártó told state news agency MTI on Friday. Szijjártó spoke following talks in Ulan Bator with Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj, Foreign Minister Lundeg Purevsuren and other ministers, as well as the mayor of Ulan Bator.
Szijjártó said the Mongolia mining industry and dynamic agriculture continue to contribute to an economic growth rate of at least 10% over the past several years.
This rapid rate of economic growth has created a need for technological development, and Szijjártó sees this as a major opportunity to increase Hungarian technology exports to Mongolia.
Hungaryʼs Eximbank established a $48.8 mln credit line to fund bilateral trade, and agreed to launch a $5 mln joint credit line with Mongoliaʼs Golomt Bank, the minister added.

Hungarian PM Varga, Szijjártó hold talks with Mongolian counterparts

Varga discussed Hungarian-Mongolian economic ties with Mongolian Industry Minister Dondogdorj Erdenebat and Finance Minister Bayarbaatar Bolor.
The parties agreed there is serious potential in bilateral economic ties, but the volume of trade is still significantly below its maximum capacity.
According to the Hungarian National Economy Ministry (NGM) there are good opportunities for cooperation in the fields of food industry, the automotive industry, the construction sector, in infrastructural development projects, in the renewable energy sector and the mining sector.
Following his meeting with Mongoliaʼs Minister of Foreign Affairs Lundeg Purevsuren in Ulaanbaatar, Szijjártó said Mongolia could help the European Union develop a “pragmatic cooperation” with Russia.
The United States, China and the Arab nations have become very active in the world economy, so Europe and Russia should form a united front. However, in view of the current global political environment, namely the Ukrainian crisis, this is not so straightforward, Szijjártó said.
Szijjártó noted that Mongolia concluded a partnership agreement with the European Union and it was holding talks on a similar agreements with the Eurasian Economic Union and will host the Asia-Europe Summit Meeting (ASEM) in July.

The time Clinton drank horse milk in Mongolia

It was sort of like yogurt that you would leave out for a week, the way it tasted'

DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) —Hillary Clinton once drank warm horse milk in Mongolia -- and it tasted "sort of like yogurt that you would leave out for a week."
And only afterward, the doctor traveling with her said he'd need to monitor her to make sure she didn't contract "brucellosis" -- a cattle disease.
Clinton told the story during an interview with Des Moines-area WHO-TV political reporter Dave Price, who had asked about the surprises she'd encountered during her travels abroad.
She'd visited Mongolia as first lady in 1995, visiting nomads there as she supported the country wedged between China and Russia for its decision to scrap communism and embrace democracy.
In an effort to show hospitality, a nomadic family had offered Clinton fermented mare's milk.
"This was horse milk, and it was offered with great hospitality and graciousness. And the whole family was looking at me," she said, laughing. "And so, you know, I lifted it up and I took a little bit of it and it was quite challenging."
Clinton added: "It was sort of like yogurt that you would leave out for a week, the way it tasted."
As she was headed back to her plane, her doctor raised a red flag.
"He said, 'Well, we're going to have to watch you carefully now because there's brucellosis, which is a cattle disease, in Mongolia," Clinton said. "I said, 'Well why are you telling me this now?'"
She didn't wind up with brucellosis.



SZAIKHANBILEG, Csimedín; Szijjártó Péter; Orbán Viktor; PUREVSZÜREN, Lundeg


Hungary and Mongolia are both successful countries and their governments have an interest in sharing this success, the Hungarian prime minister said in Ulaanbaatar. Viktor Orbán, on a three-day official visit, held talks in the capital city with counterpart Chimediin Saikhanbileg on Monday. “Over the past years, Mongolia has developed at a tremendous rate and Hungary’s economic performance is outstanding in European comparison,” Orbán told a press conference, adding that Mongolia showed interest in jointly harnessing the two countries’ capabilities.
SZAIKHANBILEG, Csimedín; Orbán Viktor
Viktor Orbán said his visit would help to deepen the two countries’ friendship and business cooperation. Orbán noted that Hungary reopened its embassy in the Mongolian capital last year. “We have returned to Mongolia,” he said, noting that his delegation comprises 50 leaders of successful Hungarian businesses seeking cooperation with local companies. The Prime Minister welcomed the signing of bilateral agreements, including an agreement on Hungary’s Eximbank opening a 25 million dollar credit line to finance the revamp of a Mongolian bioplant, a protocol on reviewing contracts, as well as a letter of intent on cooperation between Eximbank and the Mongolian Development Bank.
On Tuesday, Orbán will have talks with Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, as well as with government members. The Hungarian government considers Mongolia a key partner in the region, the Economy Ministry told news agency MTI in connection with the Hungarian delegation’s visit to Mongolia. Possible areas for closer cooperation, including food production, agriculture, engineering and vehicle production, urban development, water and waste management, construction, alternative energy and environment protection, the Ministry added.
via and MTI photo: Balázs Szecsődi –

Mongolia pumps money into meat export development

Mongolia intends to increase the volume of meat exports to Russia, Vietnam, South Korea and China in the next few years, according to a recent statement from the country’s Agricultural Minister Radnaa Burmaa.
According to Burmaa, the country will invest up to 90 million US dollars in the development of meat exports this year.
“In 2014, Mongolia exported meat to only one region of Russia. Now, we have established a contractual relationship with eight regions in the Russian Federation. We also intend to increase supplies of meat products to China and South Korea,” she said.
“We are working on this issue. The Ministry has allocated 80 Billion Tugrug (40 million USD) for the creation of additional reserves of meat and 100 billion tugrug (50 million USD) for a further increase in deliveries of meat abroad,” she added.
Strong potential
Burmaa said that, currently, the country had strong potential to develop export supplies, as last year, the number of livestock in the country saw  unprecedented growth of 34% year-to-year to reach 56 million head.
At the end of 2015, after a two-year ban, China resumed imports of Mongolian meat. Experts suggested that, since 2013, the country had achieved real progress in terms of improving livestock biosecurity. As such, the prospects for Mongolian in the Russian market were considered by local participants to be much better.
“Up to 80% of Russia’s beef imports come from Latin America. However, Mongolia is located much closer to Russia, so cooperation with the country would be much more profitable, while for companies located in the Urals (federal district) supplies from Mongolia would be more convenient in terms of logistics,” said Mushegh Mamikonyan, chairman of the Russian Meat Union.
Previously, Mongolia’s Meat Union estimated that the country had the potential to establish export supplies to Asia and Russia worth a total of 600 billion tugrug (300 million dollar)per year. Deliveries to Russia, it added could reach 100,000 tonnes (t) per year, while forecasts for Asian markets had not yet been estimated.
Biosecurity Issues
“Supplies of such volumes of meat (to Russia) would be a good step in diversifying import flows. In addition, pastoral breeding provides meat with less fat content, so in terms of food hygiene this is a plus in favor of the Mongolian product,” added Mamikonyan.
However, several industry observers have suggested that Mongolia has not yet solved all it biosecurity issues.
“Mongolia is sufficiently large and there are many wild animals and related infections. The risk of livestock contracting these infections is high, simply due to the pastoral method of livestock breeding,” said Eugene Lapinsky, head of the animal husbandry and veterinary department at Russia’s National Meat Association.


Classical Swine Fever Reported in Mongolia

MONGOLIA - Three outbreaks of classical swine fever have been reported on pig farms in Mongolia.
In total, 272 cases were reported and 419 pigs died as a result of the outbreak.
The two regions affected in the outbreak - Dornod and Tuv have now begun vaccinating pigs. In total, 710 swine have now been vaccinated in Dornod and 4,900 in Tuv province.

Traditional stone signposts counted in Inner Mongolia

HOHHOT, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region has 3,747 Aobao, stone mounds serving as signposts, according to research by an academic institute.
The Inner Mongolia Academy of Social Sciences conducted the country's first investigation of Aobao in the region from July 2014 to August 2015.
Aobao means "heap" in Mongolian. Seventy "distinctive Aobao" were elected based on their age, influence and sacrificial function.
In addition to the types of Aobao already known to researchers, such as Shaman, female, tomb and Mongolia-Han, the investigation identified new types dedicated to books, singers and wrestlers.
Inner Mongolians used to pick up stones and put them in certain places as landmarks on the region's vast grasslands. Ceremonies would also center around certain Aobao.
The Aobao Festival was listed as state-level intangible cultural heritage in 2016.

Big Screen Sports: Film review of 'Rinks of Hope: Project Mongolia

Hockey coaches Nate Leslie, Purevdavaa “Pujee” Choijiljav, and Boe Leslie at Sukhbaatar Square in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, in Feb 2015

If there's a name in hockey you should know but don't — and believe me, you don't know it — it's Pujee.
Purevdavaa "Pujee" Choijiljav is his country’s grandfather of hockey and, as the general secretary of the Mongolian Hockey Federation, is the sentimental star of a new Canadian documentary called Rinks of Hope: Project Mongolia.
The doc hasn’t been widely released yet — they are looking for a distributor and to join the festival circuit — but I saw a screening Monday at Vancity Theatre. The 42-minute doc is written and directed by Karin Larsen, a CBC sportscaster (who now covers technology since the heart-breaking, IMO, demise of the broadcaster’s sports desk) and who is also a hockey mom whose two children both played for a Vancouver coach by the name of Nate Leslie.
A former professional player in Europe, Nate and his brother Boe run an international hockey skills and leadership training service called Leslie Global Sports. The brother is based in New York City, and I wrote a full making-of-the-movie story for the Courier.
The documentary is told chronologically, beginning on Day One of a five-day road trip through northern and rural Mongolia to seven of the country’s 10 ice rinks. All rinks are outdoors because hockey is an outdoor sport, we learn. The sights and sounds of a frozen game are beautiful. Wherever there is a rink, hockey is a cultural anchor.
It’s also a man’s game. The film doesn’t ask why girls or women don’t play sport, but traditional gender roles are maintained, especially as one gap-toothed, hipster-haired prospect tells the camera he celebrates hockey for the same reasons Mongolian men prize horseracing, archery and wrestling. Grinning, he more or less says, “I like hockey. It’s a man’s game.”
The filmmakers aren’t in Mongolia to challenge the patriarchy. And the hockey players are challenged enough as it is.
Back to Pujee. In a country that once counted 17 rinks and twice today's 600-or-so registered adult male hockey players, resources are scant, ice maintenance is rudimentary, glacial temperatures crack blades and keep players closed up indoors, and equipment can only be bought over the Siberian border some 10 hours from the capital Ulaanbaatar, a sharp irony, as one of the Leslies points out, because most of it is made across a different border, the one with China. Pujee grew up watching Soviets play in their after-work leagues, and the filmmakers identify him as one of Mongolia’s first “rink rats,” a child who idolizes the bigger, faster skaters who set an example and set his heart on hockey.
Rinks of Hope: Project Mongolia documents Pujee’s new endeavour to grow youth hockey in his country. A third of the one million inhabitants of Mongolia are under the age of 18, and as Nate Leslie told me, the kids are so fierce that they’re playing style is borderline reckless. And none of the tykes left practice, even in minus-20 degree weather, except when the coaches called it a day.
Going back about a decade, Pujee was playing for the Mongolian men’s national hockey team. It officially formed in May 1999 and was not immediately ranked last by the IIHF as it is now. They played their first international tournament at the 1999 Asian Winter Games hosted by South Korea. Competing inside for the first time in their lives, the players later complained about slogging wetly along in sweaty pads and sweaters.
Mongolia wasn’t the worst team there. While they gave up a combined 54 goals in their Group A round robin against Kazakhstan and the host Koreans, the Kuwaitis allowed 79 goals against opponents Japan and China. In at least one stats column, the two worst teams were deadlocked in goals-for with one each. When Kuwait and Mongolia met in a consolation game at Gangneung on Feb. 5, 1999, our Mongol heroes prevailed 5-4 in overtime. Pujee scored the tying goal to force an extra frame.
This story comes up in the Canadian documentary. Pujee is still determined to develop youth hockey in Mongolia, starting where he lives in the Ulaanbaatar. He built a rink with his own money and hands, eventually making it the home for Otgon Od, a hockey club whose name translates to little star and has the emblem of a speeding horse on orange jerseys. They won a lot. But following a dispute with a former friend — emphasis on former, and by dispute I mean theft — the outdoor ice rink is now an uncovered dirt parking lot, its entry barred by the boards Pujee installed plus the addition of a chain and a rental fee.
It’s a crushing turn in the story of his life, and I hope the filmmakers follow that narrative as well as the legal proceedings in a follow-up documentary about the man who first invited them to Mongolia.
To learn more about the documentary, including future screenings, and to donate equipment or money to support youth hockey in Mongolia, visit the project’s page on Kickstarter.

Hungarian premier to visit Mongolia

Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orbán
News ID: 3029377 - 
ULAANBAATAR, Jan. 20 (MNA) – Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orbán will pay an official visit to Mongolia this January 24-26.
The visit is the very first visit of the Hungarian side to Mongolia at a Prime Ministerial level.
In frames of the visit, the two PMs will hold tete-a-tete meeting and expanded talks.
Mr Orban will also be received by the President Ts.Elbegdorj and the Speaker of parliament Z.Enkhbold.
Moreover, a Mongolia-Hungary business forum will run.
The Premier of Hungary Orban is expected to be accompanied by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Defense; Economy; National Development; Agriculture; and some 60 representatives of 40 companies.


Mongolia's secretary of defense receives French major-general

News ID: 3028426 - 
ULAANBAATAR, Jan. 18 (MNA) – The Second seminar and exhibition “French Defense Industry” was held in Mongolia on January 13-15.
The expo attracted over 100 delegates from Mongolia and France, including the official delegation from Arms and Technical Control Center of the French Defense Ministry.
On Monday, State Secretary of Ministry of Defense of Mongolia Batsaikhan received the deputy director for Asia-Pacific Affairs of the Arms and Technical Control Center.
The sides spoke highly of the organization of exhibition-seminar that took place in Mongolia for the second time, and shared opinions on ways to expand military cooperation.
Present were also, the head of Department of Monitoring, Evaluation and Internal Audits of Defense Ministry of Mongolia Gankhuyag and head of a division of State Administration and Management Department Altansukh.


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