Thursday, August 14, 2014

Mongolia Brief August 12, 2014 Part I

L.Bold FM Attends ASEAN Regional Forum
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, August 12 (MONTSAME) A delegation headed by Mr L.Bold, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, has taken part in the 2014 ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) which ended August 10 in Naypyitaw, Myanmar.

Mr Bold addressed a special meeting within the ARF to speak about state policy on ensuring the regional peace and security, to underline an importance of Mongolian President’s initiative on Ulaanbaatar Talks, and to present activities Mongolia has been undertaking at international level for disarmament of nuclear weapons and for contribution to peacekeeping operations.
A joint declaration issued by the ARF appreciates Mongolia’s proclamation of nuclear weapon-free status and related to it initiatives.
The ARF is considered as the biggest gathering on the politics and security in the Asia-Pacific region because it involves members of the ASEAN, talk partners and observers. This year’s forum was attended by Foreign Ministers and Vice FM of 28 countries such as Russia, China, the USA, also by the European Union (EU), the Republic of Korea, Japan, Australia and Mongolia. 

FM Meets with His Chinese Counterpart and Others
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, August 12 (MONTSAME) The Foreign Minister of Mongolia L.Bold has held official meetings with his counterpart of China Mr Wang Yi and the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Mr I.V.Morgulov during the 2014 ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) which ended last Sunday in Naypyitaw, Myanmar.
Matters the dignitaries discussed were a preparation for the forthcoming visits of the Russian and the Chinese Presidents to Mongolia, expected early September and late August this year. They touched upon, for example, agendas and documents supposed to be established during the visits, and reached a general understanding on some specific matters.
Mr Bold also talked about policies of our government on bringing these visits' importance and outcomes to a higher level and on augmenting the impact on Mongolia’s development. He highlighted a position of the Mongolian side over a meeting that is to be run for the first time next month among the Presidents of the three countries.

Bilateral Meetings Run
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, August 12 (MONTSAME) In frames of the 21st ASEAN Regional Forum held last weekend, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia Mr Bold held official meetings with his counterparts and Vice Foreign Ministers of Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Singapore and Thailand.
Moreover, the Foreign Minister met with Mr John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, and with Ms Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
At all the meetings, the sides shared views on the bilateral and international cooperation and touched upon issues of attracting support to Mongolia’s goal to become a partner of the ARF and to join the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).

16 babies poisoned from excess doses of Luminal
August 12 ( Sixteen babies between the ages of four days and three months were poisoned from high doses of Luminal and are being treated at the National Centre for Maternal and Children's Health (NCMCH).
A pharmacist at the Ekh Nyalkhas branch of Monos pharmacies distributed high dosages of Luminal for the infants last Friday. Currently, 14 poisoned babies are being treated at the National Centre for Maternal and Children`s Health, and two are in critical condition and being treated in intensive care.
Medical specialists from the National Centre for Maternal and Children's Health commented on the incident, saying that high dosage of Luminal is poisonous to infants. The impact from such poisoning is dangerous. They say that even after the poisonous dose is expelled, a baby is still at risk to lung and kidney disorders.
The mother of a 20-month-old baby asked for help from her family physician, as her baby had yellowish eyes and skin. The mother bought Luminal Phenobarbital, as her family doctor had suggested, but the pharmacist at Monos, the nation's largest pharmaceutical chain, provided an adult dose of Luminal, 200 mg instead of a children's dose of 5-10 mg.
The mothers of the poisoned babies reported that the excess dose of Luminal caused dizziness, difficulty in breathing, and decreased appetite.

Opposition parties call for Premier's resignation
August 12 ( Representatives of parties without seats in parliament met recently to re-submit a petition calling for the resignation of Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag.
Last June, the parties demanded the Premier's resignation, claiming that the Law on Land, and Minerals Law initiated by the Government violated the Constitution, was a cause of rising corruption in Mongolia, and responsible for economic failures.
This time, the parties claim that the Prime Minister violated the law by seeing his senior advisor, L.Gansukh, without permission. L.Gansukh is currently being held in a detention center in Tuv aimag.
The parties insisted that the Prime Minister should resign.  They delivered their petition to Speaker of the State Great Khural, Z.Enkhbold and parliamentarians today, on August 12th.

Roads and Transportation Minister visits Russia
August 12 ( Minister of Roads and Transportation of Mongolia A.Gansukh paid a working visit to Russia upon the invitation of Russian Transport Minister M.Yu.Sokolov, from August 6-8th. During the visit, Minister A.Gansukh had a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Transport Minister M.Yu.Sokolov, for talks on bilateral transport cooperation.
The sides exchanged views on transit transport via railway, technical upgrades for Ulaanbaatar Railway JVC, cooperation between the Civil Aviation Authorities of Mongolia and Russia, and MIAT and Aeroflot, and sought ways to further expand bilateral cooperation and  reach solutions.  Minister A.Gansukh then toured the Federal Air Transport Agency, Moscow State Technical University of Civil Aviation, and the Aero Soyuz helicopter assembly plant. Moscow State Technical University of Civil Aviation will train Mongolian students to become qualified personnel for the Mongolian aviation industry.
The visit by Roads and Transportation Minister A.Gansukh is significant as it comes before Russian President V.Putin's visit to Mongolia in September.

Unemployment Rate decreased by 10.9%
August 12 (Mongolian Economy) At the end of last month, the number of unemployed persons in Mongolia totaled 34.7 thousand, representing a decrease of 10.9 percent compared to the same period the previous year. This is a decrease of 4.2 thousand persons, says NSO monthly report 
There are currently 56.1 thousand people actively looking for employment. Over half of these individuals are women. All around Mongolia, 55.4 thousand persons are newly registered to enable themselves to find legal jobs.
15.6 thousand individuals have already received employment through registration, but 63.5 thousand persons are not actively searching for job opportunities, resulting in being removed from the registry.  
By examining educational levels of the unemployed, the majority only have a high school degree or undergraduate degree. They compose over 70 percent of those lacking jobs. Only 0.6 percent of those with a master’s degree are currently unemployed.  

Human Development Report 2014: Mongolia
August 12 ( The UNDP has launched the 2014 Human Development Report in Tokyo on July 24, 2014, which has been published since 1990 as independent, empirically grounded analyses of major development issues, trends and policies.
The 2014 Human Development Report - Sustaining Progress: Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience - looks at two concepts which are both interconnected and immensely important to securing human development progress.
This year's Report shows that overall global trends are positive and that progress is continuing. Moreover, average loss of human development due to inequality has declined in most regions in recent years, driven mainly by widespread gains in health.
The 2014 Report presents HDI values for 187 countries, where the global HDI is now 0.702, and most developing countries are continuing to advance. The lowest regional HDI values are for Sub-Saharan Africa (0.502) and South Asia (0.588), and the highest is for Latin America and the Caribbean (0.740), followed closely by Europe and Central Asia (0.738).
The 187 countries surveyed were divided in four groups:
1. Very High Human Development including top 49 states led by Norway (0.944), Australia (0.933), Switzerland (0.917), Netherlands (0.915) and the United States with a value of 0.914
2. High Human Development (50-102)
3. Medium Human Development (103-144)
4. Law Human Development (145-187)
Also, the HDI components are Life Expectancy at Birth, Mean Years of Schooling, Expected Years of Schooling, and Gross National Income (GNI) per capita.
As of Mongolia with a value of 0.698, stands at 103rd place with Medium Human Development and Life expectancy at birth is 67.5, Mean years of schooling (8.3), Expected years of schooling (15.0), and the Gross national income (GNI) per capita is 8,466 USD. Moreover, compare to 2012 Index, Mongolia’s change in rank is 3 from the value of 0.692.

Erel Bank Changes Its Name to Arig Bank
August 12 ( Founded in 1997 by Erel Group, the Erel Bank announced to rebrand its bank name to Arig Bank, which is effective from July 29, 2014.
Arig Bank is one of the first commercial banks in Mongolia and during the company’s shareholding meeting held on June 23, 2014, authorities came to the decision to change the previously known Erel into Arig Bank.
The word "Arig" means “thrift and economy” in English but the Bank implies "clean and clear" meaning as one of the main principles must to adhere by any banks and financial institutions.

Mongolia-Korea Economic Forum Runs in Ulaanbaatar
August 12 ( The Mongolia-Korea Economic Forum is being held at the "Ikh Tenger" State Complex in Ulaanbaatar on August 11-12, 2014. This year’s Forum brought over 120 participants from both countries’ politicians, experts, economists, businessmen and representatives of leading enterprises.
Founder of “Mongolia-Korea Economic Forum” NGO, MP G.Batkhuu noted in his opening remarks, “We have founded this Forum in order to determine mutually beneficial economic partnership policy between Mongolia and South Korea, moreover, to exchange entrepreneurs’ experiences and to be a bridge between the two countries as well as to attract more investors. Within this year’s Forum, parties would seek opportunities to broaden economic collaboration, particularly, exchange opinions on developing conditions and ideas to establish a free trade agreement and come to end-decision at a national level”.
On the first day of the Forum, speeches on intergovernmental relations, reciprocal travel conditions between citizens, economy, and business environmental issues were delivered by Deputy Minister of Economic Development O.Chuluunbat, State Secretary at Foreign Ministry B.Boldbaatar, Executive Director of National Council of Private Sector Support Ch.Khashchuluun and Chairman of Business Council of Mongolia B.Byambasuren respectively.
During the Forum, Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation was signed between “Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi” JSC and Daelim Corporation represented by CEO of “Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi” Ya.Batsuuri and Senior Managing Director of Daelim Corporation Lee Sang-gi. In the scope of the document, the two companies will establish an agreement to transport coal from Tavan Tolgoi to Tsagaan Khad mine, where Daelim will be taking a full responsibility of transportation according to contract.
Organizers pledged to host such Forum biennially in both territories respectively.
Mongolia-S.Korea Business Forum RunningMontsame, August 12

Bestseller Books Named
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, August 12 (MONTSAME) The “Internom” bookstore Tuesday announced the last week's bestsellers.
The book "Mongolians: 17-20th century" by S.Chuluun topped the list of bestseller books. This book tells in detail a 300-year history of Mongolia, is richly illustrated and supplemented with documentary materials. It also narrates about Mongolians-Russian empire-Manchu Qing ties.
After this goes a first volume of the "1Q84" by a Japanese Murakami Haruki, a leader of previous list of bestsellers.
Other bestsellers became “Psychology”; “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez; “English-Mongolian dictionary” by Oxford Monsudar; “Green-Eyed Monk” by Ts.Oyungerel; “Incredible person”; “Bat the Good King” by B.Sarantuya; “Morning Type Person: Managing times” by Saisho Hiroshi; and “Tov province” serial map. 

Student soldiers to take oath
August 12 ( The first class of 410 students from 42 national universities and institutes are serving in the army through the "Student-Soldier" program, approved by the Government of Mongolia on February 14th, and launched by the Minister of Education and Science based on Presidential Decree 92.
Now, the student soldiers will take oath at Chinggis Khaan Square on Wednesday, August 13th. For the oath taking ceremony, President Ts.Elbegdorj and other officials will be present.  The student soldiers are serving in the army at the Armed Forces 119th unit training center in Altanbulag sum in Tuv aimag, taking special training courses.
For two months, the student soldiers take nine different courses for 560 hours of training. In addition to the core courses, student soldiers take an exam following the 96 hour “General Military Course” and medical check-ups.
They will now begin the second phase of the program. When the four-month military course is completed by a student, they will be considered for enlistment. Student soldiers who serve in the army will be granted their bachelor's diploma along with a military service member certificate and will qualify for jobs in state services.

Chinese cultural days coming  
August 12 ( Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit Mongolia on August 18th, on the occasion of the 65th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between Mongolia and China.
During the visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping, Chinese cultural days will be organized in Ulaanbaatar.
The cultural days of will be held between August 20-30th.  An amazing artists’ ceremonial performance from Jilin Province of the People's Republic of China will be staged on August 27th. There will also be an exhibition of works by the best Chinese artists on display at Mongolian National Modern Art Gallery on August 22nd.

Gross Domestic Product approached MNT 9856.9 billion
August 12 (Mongolian Economy) During the first half of 2014, GDP by production approached MNT 9856.9 billion, which is up 14.6 percent at current price. GDP by expenditure experienced a similar trend as it reached a level of MNT 9429.7 billion. This is an increase of 11.1 percent at current price compared to the same period the previous year.
The Bank of Mongolia’s statistics show that money supply by the end of last month amounted to MNT 10081.0 billion, showing a decrease of MNT 26.0 billion, or 0.3 percent from the previous month. Compared to the previous year, money supply has increase by 24.6 percent, or MNT 1992.3 billion. Currency issued in circulation shows a similar trend as well. By the end of July 2014, it reached MNT 859.6 billion, a 0.1 percent decrease from the previous month. Compared to the previous year, currency in circulation has increased by 3.3 percent, or MNT 27.4 billion.
In addition, during the first seven months of the year, 32.9 million shares were traded. This totaled to a value of MNT 134.7 billion in the stock market. Total equilibrated revenue and grants of the General Government Budget equals MNT 3305.2 billion and net lending of this budget reached MNT 3466.1 billion. This shows a deficit of MNT 160.9 billion.
At the end of last month, tax revenue increased by MNT 184.3 billion, or 7.0 percent. This is due to increases on social security contributions, taxes on goods and services and revenue from taxes on foreign trade. This increase happened despite downfalls in income taxes and revenues from corporate income tax.
Mongolia has traded with 122 countries during the first seven months of 2014. In turn, total external trade turnover reached USD 6088.6 million. Of this amount, USD 2940.5 was made up from exports. The rest, USD 3148.1 million, was made up by imports. Total external trade turnover increased by 0.8 percent, yet external trade balance had a deficit of USD 1.3 billion in 2013.
Another increasing trend is the national consumer price index. As of July 2014, it rose by 0.4 percent compared to the previous month and 14.9 percent compared to the previous year. This increase was caused by increasing in housing, water, electricity and fuels, transportation, clothing, footwear and cloth. 

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